Brazil Petrobras: Chinook Field in US Gulf Leaked Fluid Sunday
06/13/2012| 12:23pm US/Eastern
RIO DE JANEIRO--Brazilian state-run energy giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR, PETR4.BR), or Petrobras, said Wednesday that a "small leak" of hydraulic fluid was detected during commissioning of a submarine system Sunday at its Chinook field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
"The fluid was diluted without causing damage to people or the environment," Petrobras said in an emailed statement. Petrobras did not disclose the volume of the fluid that leaked.
Petrobras said it had notified U.S. officials of the leak, as well as set up an internal commission to evaluate the cause of the incident.
The oil company operates both Chinook and a nearby sister field called Cascade, where the company started oil production earlier this year. Cascade was the first U.S. Gulf of Mexico field to feature the use of a floating production, storage and offloading vessel, or FPSO. FPSOs are used extensively for offshore oil production in Brazil.
The two oil fields are part of an ultra-deepwater oil reserve discovered about 250 kilometers off the coast of Louisiana. Petrobras had originally expected to start output at the Cascade and Chinook fields in 2010, but the project was delayed after the U.S. government banned offshore drilling in the wake of the Macondo spill disaster. After receiving approval by the U.S. Department of the Interior to use the FPSO in March 2011, production was delayed once again after an equipment failure.
Petrobras is lead operator at Chinook with a 66.7% stake, while a unit of France's Total SA (TOT), Total E&P, holds the remaining 33.3%. Petrobras holds a 100% stake in the Cascade field.
-By Jeff Fick, Dow Jones Newswires; 55-21-2586-6085; email@example.com