Brazil Oil Spill Update

The Campos Basin has been cloudy so we haven’t gotten a good satellite image of the Chevron oil spill there since November 12. Chevron reported yesterday that their top-kill operation has stopped the flow of oil at a well they had been drilling from the Transocean SEDCO 706 semisubmersible drill rig, and “significantly reduced” the flow from from a line of nearby seeps that may have been fed by oil from the well.

It seems like they may have had a casing failure below the seafloor, but we need to see a lot more technical detail about what happened. Chevron and Transocean are major global players, very active in US waters, so whatever went wrong off Brazil is important information relevant to deepwater drilling everywhere.

Let’s not make the mistake of dismissing this spill as irrelevant to US drilling practices, like we did after the 10-week-long blowout and oil spill off Australia in 2009. These incidents are warning shots that we ignore at our peril.

We’ll keep looking for good satellite imagery of this spill – hopefully showing the oil slick dissipating – and will update you all here and at SkyTruth Alerts whenever we produce anything new.