(The Wall Street Journal, Luciana Magalhaes and Jeffrey T. Lewis, 9.Oct.2019) — Long stretches of Brazil’s northeastern coast have been stained by oil slicks since early September, and at least some of the crude probably came from Venezuelan fields, a report by Brazilian oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA said, according to a person familiar with the report.
Petrobras, as the company is known, declined to confirm the report exists.
Brazilian environmental agency IBAMA said that the crude oil has been found at 138 different points in nine states, and that chemical analysis of the black gook indicates it wasn’t pumped from Brazilian fields.
Brazilian legal and military authorities are investigating the source of the oil, but so far they’ve declined to say whether or not the crude originated in Venezuela.
President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday that there were indications the spill might have criminal origins.
“The volume hasn’t been consistent, if it were from a tanker that had sunk there would still be oil coming out,” Mr. Bolsonaro told reporters in Brasília. “It looks like something was criminally released.”
Tons of crude have already been removed from the sites in states including Sergipe, Pernambuco and Alagoas, and the clean-up continues, the president’s office said.
At least 10 sea turtles have been killed by the spilled oil, and more have been sickened, according to IBAMA.