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Brazil Regulators: Petrobras Could Face Sanctions for Offshore Oil Spill

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February 2, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones)–Brazil’s lead environmental regulators said late Wednesday that state-run energy giant Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR, PETR4.BR), or Petrobras, could be sanctioned for an oil spill at a deep-water field.

The Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Resources, or Ibama, said it had given Petrobras five days to submit a report on its response to the accident, including details on actions required under the emergency plan that was part of the environmental license for the field. Some 160 barrels of oil leaked at the Carioca Nordeste field after a tube carrying crude to the surface ruptured.

“Depending on the information to be presented, the company could receive sanctions,” Ibama said in the statement.

Petrobras was conducting a long-term well test at the Carioca Nordeste field when the accident took place. Ibama said there was no danger of the spilled oil reaching the coast, given the distance to the coast and current ocean conditions. The field sits more than 300 kilometers off the coast in an area known as the Santos Basin, where a cluster of oil discoveries were made that are estimated to hold 50 billion barrels of crude.

–By Jeff Fick, Dow Jones Newswires

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