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Oil from spill fouls Brazilian beach

By Shasta Darlington, CNN
updated 9:35 AM EST, Mon December 19, 2011
Boats work to disperse an oil spill northeast of Rio de Janeiro in November.
Boats work to disperse an oil spill northeast of Rio de Janeiro in November.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The oil is on a beach in Rio de Janeiro state
  • The spill is from a Japanese-operated oil rig
  • Brazil plans to develop more offshore oil platforms
  • It wants to be the world's third largest oil producer by 2020

Sao Paulo, Brazil (CNN) -- Oil from a small leak in Brazilian waters -- the second in less than two months -- has reached the shores of Rio de Janeiro state, environmental authorities said.

The oil was discovered on Bonfim Beach during a flyover Sunday, according to the state environmental secretariat. The oil is believed to be from a Japanese-operated oil platform that leaked 63 barrels on Friday in the picturesque waters around Ilha Grande and Angra dos Reis, the agency said.

In early November, some 3,000 barrels of oil spilled into the ocean at a deep-water well drilled by U.S. oil giant Chevron.

In response to the spill, Brazilian federal prosecutors filed a suit last week against Chevron and oil rig operator Transocean Ltd. for about $11 billion. The civil suit also seeks to halt the companies┬╣ operations in Brazil.

In the case of this second spill, authorities said they would initially levy a $5.4 million fine on Modec, the rig operator.

The accidents, though small, are getting high-profile treatment as Brazil begins to develop more deep-water sites in extreme depths off the coast of the state of Rio.

Extraction will require extremely complicated techniques but Brazil hopes it will also make the country the third largest oil producer in the world by 2020.

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