Earlier this month, an oil well that Chevron was drilling off the coast of Brazil sprung a leak, and as many as 110,000 gallons of oil have spread over the sea bed and into the ocean. Chevron didn’t even notice at first — Brazil's state oil company had to sound the alarm about the spill, the Associated Press reports. Now the company is saying it "takes full responsibility for this incident."

One of the mysteries of the oil world is the inconsistency with which companies decide to own up to their misdeeds. Back in February, for instance, Chevron professed confusion when an Ecuadorian judge ordered the company to publicly apologize for spilling oil in the country's rainforest. But maybe it's not such a mystery: The judge was also ordering the company to pony up $8.6 billion in clean-up cash. Maybe Chevron is calculating that if it apologizes for this Brazilian mess now, it won't have to pay restitution later.

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