Chevron was “irresponsible” in Brazil spill

Chevron Corp. (CVX) was “irresponsible” and acted with an “absolute lack of caution” in operations that led to a leak in the Frade oilfield off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, the state’s governor said.

“The company’s going to pay for this and it’s going to be expensive,” Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral told reporters in New York today, according to a statement e-mailed by his office. He said Chevron used “medieval techniques” in the operations.

Chevron was fined 50 million reais ($27.6 million) by Brazilian environmental authorities for the spill, which occurred Nov. 7 about 230 miles (370 kilometers) northeast of Rio de Janeiro. An estimated 3,000 barrels leaked, Haroldo Lima, head of Brazil’s oil regulator, Agencia Nacional do Petroleo, said Nov. 22.

The company will be fined for falsifying information to ANP and also for failing to meet a plan to counter the accident, the regulator has said.

Cabral’s statement did not specify if further actions would be taken against Chevron.

In an e-mailed statement, Chevron said it quickly moved to address the leak.

“Our combined efforts greatly diminished the size of the sheen and stopped the source of the seep flow within only four days of first detection,” the company said in an e-mail from its press department. “Up to 18 vessels have been in rotating operation to support well plugging operations and sheen cleanup.”