Venezuela rejects Brazil accusations over beach oil spills

Caracas (AFP) –


Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA on Thursday denied accusations by Brazil that it was responsible for a massive oil spill that has polluted beaches on its northeastern Atlantic coast.

Brazil's Environment Minister Ricardo Salles told a congressional commission on Wednesday that the oil "probably came from Venezuela," citing a report from Brazilian state oil company Petrobas.

PDVSA said in a statement it "categorically" rejected Salles' "unfounded" claims, adding that there was "no evidence of oil spills in Venezuela's oil fields that could have caused damage to the marine ecosystem" of the neighboring country.

The oil began appearing in early September and has been seen along a 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile) stretch of the northeastern Atlantic coast -- with around 130 tons of oil residue collected by Monday.

Petrobas, which is taking part in the clean-up, said the oil "was neither produced nor sold" by the company after analyzing local samples last week.