--Brazilian oil regulator said Chevron attributes November oil spill to natural causes
--Chevron said it hasn't indicated the source of the seeps was result of Mother Nature
--Company says it's still investigating geology of Frade field
(Update with Chevron's comments in fourth paragraph.)
RIO DE JANEIRO--U.S. oil major Chevron Corp. (CVX) hasn't "totally recognized" the causes of a November oil spill, the director of Brazil's National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, said Tuesday.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event, ANP Director Magda Chambriard said that Chevron "continues to focus on natural causes as a basis" for the spill. An estimated 2,400 to 3,000 barrels of oil seeped from cracks in the seabed after a drilling accident in November at the Chevron-operated Frade offshore field.
The ANP has joined other government agencies, including environment regulator Ibama, in talks about how best to sanction Chevron for the spill, Ms. Chambriard said. The agencies want Chevron to become "an international benchmark" for how a company can improve after an accident, Ms. Chambriard added.
In an emailed statement, Chevron said all of its findings to date have been reported to the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) and that while it has yet to conclude its investigation into the geology of the Frade field, "Chevron has not indicated that the source of seeps was a result of Mother Nature."
Chevron added its response to the incident offshore Brazil was implemented according to the law, industry standards and in a timely manner.
Ms. Chambriard also declined to comment on prospects for the country's 11th round auction of oil and natural gas concessions. President Dilma Rousseff hasn't authorized the ANP to move forward with the auction while lawmakers continue to haggle over the division of royalties from oil production.
The ANP needs 120 days from President Rousseff's approval to prepare and hold the auction.
Write to Jeff Fick at email@example.com
-Isabel Ordonez contributed to this report.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 05, 2012 21:10 ET (01:10 GMT)
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