Brazil Court Orders Chevron, Transocean to Halt Operations in 30 Days

RIO DE JANEIRO - A Brazilian court levied an injunction that bans U.S. oil major Chevron Corp. and drilling company Transocean Ltd. from extracting or transporting oil in the country, according to a statement published on the court's website Wednesday.

Chevron and Transocean have 30 days to halt their activities in Brazil or face daily fines of 500 million Brazilian reais ($250 million), the court said. The injunction was handed down on appeal after initial attempts by a federal prosecutor to impose the ban in April were denied.

In a statement, Transocean said that it is evaluating the latest development. "Transocean rigs continue to operate in Brazil," the company said. "We maintain that this case is without merit."

Chevron didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The two companies face civil and criminal lawsuits for the roles in a November accident at the Chevron-operated Frade offshore oil field, which caused 3,700 barrels of crude to seep from cracks in the seabed. Both companies have denied any wrongdoing.

Last month, Brazil's National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, cited Chevron for 25 infractions related to the incident and said that the company would be fined nearly up to the BRL50 million allowed by law. The total fine will be determined later in August, ANP officials said at the time.

The ANP, meanwhile, said that it found no fault with steps taken by Transocean and didn't censure the company.

Despite the incident, ANP officials said that they would meet with Chevron to discuss restarting output at Frade, which was shuttered voluntarily by the company in March after new oil seeps were discovered.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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Forrest A Brown | Aug. 1, 2012
Several months ago when I was working on a Chevron rig I wrote a rather nasty but true statement about Brazil and Ecuador its business practices and court cases singling out US and other forging companies but US firms in most case. Telling Chevron in Brazil and in Ecuador just to pull out of booth countries as they will and are just a source of money for the countries and its courts of injustices. Sighting that not one drop of oil hit shore and Chevron had everything in order set forth my IBAMA and the inspector’s chevron saw the seepage which is natural occurring and stopped the drill called in the cleaning crew but Brazil saw a way to make several million dollars off a US company and took it and the fines keep climbing as Brazil knows the US firms will pay up or our government will make them pay all we are is a source of extra money to them. I believe the US oil companies should pull out of Brazil and Ecuador and let them fine someone else. When I sent this to the Chevron website I got an email back in one day saying some people found it offensive and had it taken down In my eyes the truth hurts


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