QUESTIONS RAISED OVER BRAZILIAN OFFSHORE DRILLING
Though Petrobras appears to have contained Brazil's second major oil spill in four months, the accident has raised questions about offshore drilling's safety as the country moves forward with plans to develop offshore resources. A government team evaluating efforts to contain the spill said that there was virtually no chance the oil would reach the coastline, and that Petrobras' quick response was able to control the spill. However, environmental regulators have questioned the company's emergency plans. The Sao Paulo state environmental regulator, Cetesb, rejected Petrobras's safety plan for the Santos Basin in August, saying it only partly addressed communication, control, containment, collection of spilled oil, and dispersion of oil slicks. But the federal environmental regulator Ibama allowed Petrobras to move ahead, in spite of the Cetesb report. Although Petrobras avoided the $30 million in fines, $10 billion in damage claims, and criminal charges faced by Chevron in the accident's aftermath, Ibama, Brazil's federal environmental regulator, has yet to determine whether Petrobras will be liable for any fines. For the full story, see http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brazil-oil-spill-contained-safety-issue-lingers-2012-02-02.