Rio de Janeiro – Chevron Corp. touted progress in containing an oil spill off Brazil, saying it has stopped the flow of crude from an appraisal well and significantly reduced leaking from seep lines on the ocean floor.
The oil supermajor's Brazilian subsidiary said in a statement Tuesday that it "can currently advise that well control operations have been successful and that any fluid flow from the well appears to have ceased."
The leak began Nov. 8 at the well in the Frade field, located in the Campos Basin about 370 kilometers (230 miles) from the coast of Rio de Janeiro state.
Chevron Brazil added that since receiving approval from Brazil's ANP oil regulator, it "immediately commenced plugging and abandonment activities on an appraisal well within the Frade field which was suspected to be contributing to oil being expressed through seep lines located on the ocean floor."
The plan approved by ANP calls initially for injecting mud into the well and then encasing it in cement, the official Agencia Brasil news agency reported.
"Chevron Brazil will continue to monitor the situation during the plugging and abandonment process in the coming days, which will culminate in the final cementing of the well," the company said.
The sheen stemming from the oil spill covers an area of 163 sq. kilometers (63 sq. miles) and is located 120 kilometers (75 miles) off the coast of the city of Campos dos Goytacazes, Agencia Brasil said.
A total of 18 vessels operated by Chevron and other companies are participating in efforts to contain and recover the spilled crude, whose volume is estimated at between 400-650 barrels.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday ordered a "rigorous investigation" into the causes of the oil spill.
With a 51.7 stake, Chevron is the lead operator in the Frade field. Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras holds 30 percent of the venture and the rest belongs to the Frade Japao Petroleo Ltda. consortium.
Chevron, which began drilling in Frade in 2009, says the field contains 200 million to 300 million barrels of oil equivalent.