Brazil’s oil regulator ANP has said it anticipates Chevron will restart production from its Frade field, located off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, at about 20,000 barrels a day.

The field was shutdown in March 2012 following a 3,800 barrel oil spill in November 2011 and subsequent smaller leaks, reported Reuters.

In a 2012 report, ANP said that oil leaked after a crack opened up when a well drilling and pressure accident, known as a ‘kick’, led to fracture of fragile rock in the well walls and allowed oil to seep up to the seabed and then to the surface.

Chevron has paid £10.65m towards a fine levied by ANP, in relation to the oil spill charge.

ANP chief Magda Chambriard was quoted by the news agency as saying that Chevron and its partners received approval on 8 April to restart production at the Frade field; however, production has not yet commenced. Before the spill output at the Frade field was estimated to be about 70,000 barrels a day.

"The field was shutdown in March 2012 following a 3,800 barrel oil spill in November 2011."

Chambriard noted that the output will now be lower because Chevron and its partners have not been given consent to use water or gas injection to increase the flow of oil from the reservoir. The ANP chief said that small droplets of oil are still leaking from the field.

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By GlobalData

Chevron, as operator, holds 52% interest in the Frade field, while Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro holds 30% and Frade Japão, a consortium of Japanese trading houses Sojitz and Inpex, owns the remaining 18%.

The partners have so far invested nearly $3bn in developing the field, reported Reuters.

Frade field commenced first production in June 2009 and reached 65,000bpd in September 2010, while peak output of 79,000 barrels of crude oil and natural gas liquids a day was achieved in 2011.

Image: The Frade field, discovered by Petrobras in 1986, was shutdown in March 2012, following an oil spill in November 2011.