Oct 10, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Mysterious oil spill continues to ravage Brazil's coast

A mysterious oil spill is ravaging Brazil's northeastern coast, killing sea turtles, limiting fishing and littering the sand with clumps of the crude substance, Bloomberg reports.

What's happening: The oil has been creeping onto the coast for more than a month, and officials have not been able to identify its source. Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque notes the oil is likely coming from a leaking ship and that its characteristics are similar to Venezuelan heavy crude — but that does not necessarily indicate that Venezuela is the source. Venezuela’s state oil company has not accepted any responsibility for the issue.

  • But some disagree that Venezuela is cleared as the culprit. As Bloomberg reports: "On Wednesday, Environment Minister Ricardo Salles said the oil likely originated from Venezuela, citing a report from state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA about the characteristics of the crude."
  • Petrobras CEO Roberto Castello Branco says the spill may be the result of an accident or criminal act, and President Jair Bolsonaro says the act was likely criminal.

By the numbers: The oil has reached all 9 states in Brazil's northeastern region.

  • O Estado de S. Paulo, a local newspaper, reports that over a dozen turtles have been found dead since the spill began.
  • 800 hatched baby turtles were also blocked from reaching the water.

Go deeper: Brazil has lost 1,330 square miles of Amazon rainforest under Bolsonaro

Go deeper