Around the 7th of November, when a sheen of oil first appeared on the sea in the vicinity of a Chevron appraisal well in the deep-water Frade field of the coast of Brazil about 230 miles from Rio de Janeiro's famous beaches, the company claimed the occurrence was due to natural seepage. Now, the company is admitting that actually, it isn't natural, and that the company is indeed the one to blame.

Chevron says that the oil leakage, which is coming from around seven cracks in the sea floor near the wellhead, resulted from underestimating the pressure in the reservoir and injecting an incorrect amount of the mud meant to prevent oil from coming out. While Chevron originally said the amounts of leaked crude involved were in the 400 to 650 barrel range, more recent reports put that figure at 5,000 to 8,000 barrels.

Brazilian authorities appear to be taking the situation quite seriously and Chevron has been fined $28 million so far and may be face a possible ban from drilling in Brazil for downplaying the situation, withholding information and possibly exceeding the drill depths it had been permitted for.

While the Brazil spill doesn't come close to last year's disaster at BP's Deepwater Horizon – the well has been plugged and the oil is staying away from shore – we can't help but wonder how much environmental damage has to occur before the world moves on to a more clean and sustainable source of energy. Hit the jump for a short video showing seepage from one of the cracks in the sea floor.



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