Shell accused in Brazilian oil spill disaster

Oil spill consequences on Brazilian beach, EPA photo

Translated from Dutch (right-wing) daily De Telegraaf today:

Shell named in mysterious oil spill in Brazil

By Edwin van der Schoot

The beaches in northeastern Brazil have been smeared for weeks with washing-up oil of unknown origin. Local media now point to Shell. Shell denies involvement.

The oil washes up on the pristine white beaches that are usually mainly devoted to tourism, surfing, fishing and special flora and fauna, such as turtles and dolphins. The oil has since been found in 187 places in 8 of the 26 Brazilian states.

Cleaning work

The first oil spills on beaches date from the beginning of September. Many of the beaches are now the sites of small-scale cleaning operations. Eg, state oil company Petrobras – despite denying involvement – has made 100 employees available to help with clean-up work.

In the oil residues two Shell barrels were found that contained lubricants for shipping, a reason for Brazilian media to scrutinize Shell. Shell’s Brazilian subsidiary had to answer questions from the IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources). …

Brazil is one of the most oil-rich countries in Latin America. Eg, the Schiedam oil platform builder SBM Offshore and Shell are very active in that region.


Brazil has no history of major oil disasters.

Because, eg, under the previous pre-Bolsonaro Brazilian government, there were stricter rules on oil platform safety than in, eg, the USA, where lax rules caused the big BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

However, President Bolsonaro has recently reduced the budget of regulators and so have the fines for violations. Bolsonaro, who regularly gets into conflicts with NGOs as a result of these measures, initially blamed neighbouring country Venezuela, the largest oil producer in the region. …

And a country which Bolsonaro planned to invade, jointly with United States President Trump.

Daniël Gomez of Friends of the Earth recently visited the Brazilian northeast coast: “I was in Bahia state two weeks ago, where fishermen from the region exchanged experiences about this disaster. They were worried because nothing was done to clean the beaches, to trace the source. Neither is anything about this disaster published in the national media. The oil has since spread further, but there is no real plan to stop this.”

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