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Brazil's Petrobras says gas leak totaled 150 tons

Brazil's state-owned oil giant Petrobras said on Monday that a leak ...

Brazil's state-owned oil giant Petrobras said on Monday that a leak of highly flammable cooking gas on Friday totaled 150 tons, but that the cause of the accident would only be known within two weeks.
Road workers ruptured a Petrobras pipeline on the outskirts of Sao Paulo on Friday, forcing hundreds of families to evacuate their homes and prompting authorities to close a nearby highway enveloped by a thick white cloud.

A Petrobras spokeswoman said on Monday that 150 tons of cooking gas -- equivalent to 11,500 of the gas cylinders commonly used in Brazilian homes -- had escaped on Friday before the leak was controlled. No injuries were reported and the highway was reopened over the weekend.

``There is still no information on the cause,'' she said.

Petrobras and a branch of Sao Paulo state's transportation secretariat will complete a joint investigation into the accident within 15 days, she added.

Brazil's oil regulatory agency ANP said on Monday it interdicted the pipeline and would only allow Petrobras to resume operations after it had presented a report outlining repairs and subsequent tests to the pipeline and measures to prevent further accidents during road works.

The white gas seeped out onto the ground in Barueri, 17 miles (27 km) from downtown Sao Paulo, forcing Petrobras to shut down the valve on Friday.

Environmental officials said they have also requested a statewide revision of the gas network, especially in areas where road works are under way.

``There was a huge threat of explosion, but luckily it evaporated before anything happened. Now we want a revision of the entire network,'' a spokesman for Sao Paulo state's environmental authority Cetesb said.

Only two weeks before, Petrobras caused an oil spill of 58,000 gallons (220,000 liters) of fuel oil close to the site of Friday's accident, just the latest in a string of embarrassing spills for Petrobras.

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