Until yesterday, it was primarily consensus speculation that Chevron had caused an oil spill off the coast of Brazil. The oil giant kept mum, perhaps in an attempt to skirt punitive damages in the case that the spill was their fault but not big enough to cause a public ruckus. But after satellite images revealed the spill to be up to 10 times larger than previously feared, and more and more data emerged incriminating the company, Chevron finally stepped forward and revealed its role in the disaster.
The AP reports:
An ongoing oil spill off the Brazilian coast occurred because Chevron underestimated the pressure in an underwater reservoir, the head of the company's Brazil operations said Sunday. George Buck, chief operating officer for the Brazilian division of the San Ramon, California-based company, told foreign journalists that Chevron "takes full responsibility for this incident," and that "any oil on the surface of the ocean is unacceptable to Chevron."Some would find fault in that: Satellite images reveal that Chevron had just one cleanup vessel on the scene; not dozens, as it claims to have deployed.
But Buck rejected accusations the company did not notify authorities quickly enough after the leak was detected and that it did not properly manage cleanup operations.
The spill is the result of a leak that sprung while the company was drilling a new well 230 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Oil company reps declined to comment on when the leakage would stop, and they wouldn't confirm the amount of oil loosed into the ocean so far. They, however, did suggest that some 420-4,200 gallons of oil are still leaking into the ocean daily, despite the fact that the rupture was successfully plugged with cement. Brazil's government puts the spill size estimate at 110,000 gallons, though independent organizations fear it could be much more than that.
Brazil's police force is continuing an investigation into potential Chevron's potential engagement in illegal activity resulting in the spill.