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Brazil hands Chevron a third fine on oil spill

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 30 Dec 2011 15:54 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* ANP fine Chevron a third time over November spill

* Brazil regulator has yet to unveil size of fine

* Folha says fine related to failure to obey guidelines

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Brazil's oil industry watchdog ANP said on Friday it has imposed a third fine on Chevron over a November oil spill at the Frade offshore field, signaling that regulators are stepping up oversight of the No. 2 U.S. oil company's offshore operations in Latin America's largest economy.

A spokesman at Rio de Janeiro-based ANP confirmed the fine but declined to elaborate on the size of it. He did not give the reasons for the fine, but said a statement on it could came later in the day.

Newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported earlier on Friday that regulators fined Chevron after failing to comply with a development plan for Frade that was approved by the ANP. Chevron had been fined as much as 100 million reais (${esc.dollar}53.6 million) previously, Folha said.

A press official at Chevron's Brazil unit said the company will issue a statement on the fine later on Friday.

The Frade field is 52 percent owned by San Ramon, California-based Chevron, 30 percent by Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras and 18 percent by Japanese consortium Frade Japao. It was producing about 80,000 barrels of oil a day at the time of the spill which occurred during the drilling of a new well in the field using a rig owned by Transocean.

(${esc.dollar}1 = 1.865 reais) (Reporting by Sabrina Lorenzi; Writing by Jeb Blount; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Marguerita Choy)

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