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Brazil probes Petrobras role in Chevron spill: report

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(Reuters) – RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Brazilian prosecutors are probing the possible involvement of state-led oil company Petrobras in a November offshore oil spill in a field operated by Chevron, the No. 2 U.S. oil company, the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported on its Web site.

At least one Petrobras employee was believed to be on the drilling rig involved in the spill and prosecutors want to determine if Petrobras acted according to the law, Estado said.

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Prosecutors are already investigating Chevron and Transocean, the owner of the Sedco 706 floating rig involved.

The spill occurred after unexpected pressure from an undersea oil reservoir in the Frade field northeast of Rio de Janeiro damaged the well more than 500 meters below the seabed and caused an estimated 2,400 barrels of oil to seep up through undersea rock and the seabed and into the ocean, Chevron said.

While Petrobras owns a 30 percent stake in the field, Chevron, with a 52 percent stake and the role of operator, has assumed responsibility for the accident and has taken the brunt of criticism for the spill.

The remaining 18 percent is owned by Frade Japao, a Japanese group. Chevron officials said November 20 that Transocean had no responsibility in the spill. The spill, tiny in comparison to the estimated four-million-barrel Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, has been totally dispersed without coming near Brazil’s coast, according to Chevron. The Deepwater Horizon rig was also owned by Transocean.

Before Brazilian courts and environmental agencies, all owners of an oil field or exploration concession are “co-responsible” for any damages or accidents in their field according to Brazil’s oil regulator, the ANP, and Marilda Rosado De Sa Ribeiro, an oil legislation expert at the Rio de Janeiro law firm of Doria, Jacobina, Rosado, Godinho.

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At the ANP, though, all regulatory compliance issues are directed at the operator, ANP officials said. Chevron has already been fined $28 million for the spill and faces further fines, the ANP and Brazilian environmental officials said.

A spokeswoman for Petrobras chief executive Jose Sergio Gabrielli declined to comment on the probe or on the Estado report when called by Reuters on Saturday.

A well producing about 10 percent of the 79,000 barrels a day of oil pumped from the field was shut by the country’s oil regulator, the ANP said December 1. The closure was the result of Chevron allegedly failing to report the presence of corrosive, sulfur-based gasses in the production stream.

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(Writing by Jeb Blount; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Mochila insert follows.

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Trump personally asked what ‘tanks’ could be used to break up George Floyd protests

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On Tuesday, The Daily Beast detailed how President Donald Trump himself has been behind the push to use the military to control the protests against the police killing of George Floyd — to the extent that he actually asked about specific military equipment that would be available for that purpose.

"[Defense Secretary Mark] Esper, along with other cabinet secretaries, stood next to the president during the remarks in the park after participating in an hour-long call with governors in which he said they needed to 'dominate the battlespace' to quell the protests," reported Erin Banco, Spencer Ackerman, and Asawin Suebsaeng. "But three senior Pentagon officials who spoke with The Daily Beast said they viewed the secretary’s comments on the call as a way to publicly show support for the president. They did not expect the department to actually implement a plan that would reflect the president’s rhetoric and force additional troops upon the states."

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FBI has ‘no intelligence’ Antifa was involved in Sunday’s violence at DC protests: report

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Attorney General Bill Barr and President Donald Trump have tried to blame Antifa -- or anti-fascists -- for violence in the protests against police injustice. But the public data has backed up their case, and even their on intel disputes the argument.

"he FBI’s Washington Field Office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that occurred on May 31, according to an internal FBI situation report obtained exclusively by The Nation. That same day, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would designate Antifa a terrorist organization, even though the government has no existing authority to declare a domestic group a terrorist organization," Ken Klippenstein reported for the magazine.

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NYC protesters defy curfew — with a profane message for Mayor Bill de Blasio

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Protesters in New York City continued to march after 8 p.m. on Tuesday -- in open defiance of a curfew order from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Jan Ransom, who covers courts and jails for The New York Times, posted video of protesters chanting, "f*ck your curfew."

Wonder what protesters think about @NYCMayor’s 8 pm curfew?

Just listen. pic.twitter.com/8H38XNGfQt

— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 2, 2020

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