RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian state-run energy giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, said Wednesday that a "small leak" of hydraulic fluid was detected during commissioning of a submarine system Sunday at its Chinook field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
The federal oil company operates both Chinook and a nearby sister field called Cascade, where the company started oil production earlier this year. Cascade was the first U.S. Gulf of Mexico field to feature the use of a floating production, storage and offloading vessel, or FPSO. FPSOs are used extensively for offshore-oil production in Brazil.
The two oil fields are part of an ultradeepwater oil reserve discovered about 250 kilometers off the coast of Louisiana. Petrobras had originally expected to start output at the Cascade and Chinook fields in 2010, but the project was delayed after the U.S. government temporarily suspended deep-water offshore drilling in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. After receiving approval by the U.S. Department of the Interior to use the FPSO in March 2011, production was delayed once again after an equipment failure.
Petrobras is lead operator at Chinook with a 66.7% stake, while a unit of France's Total SA, Total E&P, holds the remaining 33.3%. Petrobras holds a 100% stake in the Cascade field.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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