Petrobras Shuts Fifth Most Productive Well After Accident

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer, shut its fifth most productive well after detecting a leak of 160 barrels in deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based producer is known, spilled oil from the production column at the Carioca Nordeste well before shutting output, the company said today in an e-mailed statement. The well produced 25,034 barrels a day, or 1 percent of Petrobras’ domestic output in November, according to the country’s oil regulator.

Brazil’s oil regulator will carry out an inspection of the Dynamic Producer platform tomorrow, the agency said today in a separate statement. The leak has been halted and the spill is being contained, the regulator said. Petrobras said it is collecting the oil and investigating the causes of the accident.

The Carioca field is part of the so-called Santos Cluster that holds the largest oil fields discovered in the Americas in more than three decades. Petrobras is developing fields in more than 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) of water in a bid to more than double output by 2020.

The accident happened at a time Petrobras’ production growth has missed estimates. Last year output at Petrobras increased at the slowest pace since 2007 because of delays in equipment deliveries and more stringent security measures that Brazil’s oil regulator put in place after the Macondo oil spill in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Chevron’s Spill

Production grew 1.4 percent in 2011 to 2.6 million barrels a day of oil and natural gas, slower than its 7.7 percent target for the year, according to information on Petrobras’s website.

Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. energy company by market value, was fined and ordered to halt all drilling and crude production off Brazil’s coast after discovering a leak on Nov. 7. Chevron, operator of the offshore well that triggered the leaks, estimated the volume of the seeps at 2,400 barrels.

Petrobras was unchanged at 24.57 reais in Sao Paulo. The stock is up 14 percent this year, more than the 11 percent gain in the benchmark stock index.

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