Transocean served with Brazil drilling injunction

September 28, 2012

Braden Reddall – Reuters, 09/27/2012

Transocean Ltd (RIG.N) said on Thursday it was served with a preliminary injunction by a federal court in Brazil that would require the drilling contractor’s nine rigs operating in waters off the country to cease operations in 30 days.

The ban stems from an oil spill last November in an offshore field operated by Chevron Corp (CVX.N) at a well drilled with a Transocean rig. The eight other Transocean rigs in Brazil work for Petrobras (PETR4.SA), including seven contracted to the state-led oil company and another subcontracted from BP (BP.L).

If not overturned, the ban could seriously disrupt exploration and drilling in one of the world’s most promising offshore oil frontiers by removing about 13 percent of Brazil’s drilling fleet.

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Brazil oil agency ANP appeals Transocean, Chevron oil spill ban

September 18, 2012

Reuters, 09/17/2012

Brazil’s petroleum regulator ANP appealed an injunction on Monday banning Transocean Ltd and Chevron Corp from operating in Brazil on the grounds the ban would harm oil exploration in the country, ANP chief Magda Chambriard said.

Among the repercussions of a ban, which could take effect in less than a month, would be preventing state-led oil company Petrobras from drilling eight new wells in its massive Marlim field northeast of Rio de Janeiro, Chambriard told reporters on the sidelines of the Rio Oil & Gas conference.

Asked if the ban would cause a serious reduction in drilling and exploration in Brazil, Chambriard replied “absolutely.”

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Transocean says court denied request to block Brazil injuction

September 14, 2012

Alison Sider – The Wall Street Journal, 09/12/2012

A Brazilian appeals court has denied a request by the national oil regulator to suspend an injunction barring Transocean Ltd. RIG -0.67% and Chevron Corp.CVX +0.98% from operating in the country, Transocean Chief Executive Steven Newman said on a conference call Wednesday.

The court responsible for the case couldn’t yet confirm the ruling.

A Brazilian court banned the two companies from operating in the country in late July because of their roles in an offshore oil spill last year.

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Chevron Brazil head can leave when job ends, says court

September 6, 2012

Jeb Blount – Reuters, 09/06/2012

The head of Chevron Corp’s Brazilian unit, George Buck, can leave the country when his job ends later this month as long as he pays a 500,000 real ($245,000) bond to assure his participation in court cases related to a November oil spill, a Brazilian court ruled.

Buck will be replaced by Kelly Hartshorn, head of Chevron’s deepwater operations in Angola, a person with knowledge of the appointment said. The source declined to be named because he has not been authorized to speak about personnel matters.

According to Rio de Janeiro federal court documents, Buck will take up a job in Houston in Chevron’s drilling and completions department.
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Chevron could have prevented Brazil offshore spill: regulator

July 19, 2012

Reuters, 07/18/2012

(Reuters) – Brazil’s national oil regulator will report on Thursday that Chevron could have avoided an offshore spill last November by following its own procedures manuals, the agency said in a statement.

The report, which follows months of investigation by the agency after a spill in the Frade field off Rio de Janeiro, will also say that the amount of oil that leaked into the ocean by the spill totaled 3,700 barrels.

Previously, Chevron and the regulator, known as the ANP, had estimated the spill between 2,400 and 3,000 barrels. Chevron, in a statement, said it believes that 2,400 barrels remains more accurate and that it would “analyze the ANP’s estimate.”

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Brazil says Chevron fine unlikely to surpass $25 million

July 17, 2012

Jeff Fick – The Wall Street Journal, 07/16/2012

Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, is unlikely to fine U.S. oil major Chevron Corp. CVX -0.44% more than 50 million Brazilian reais ($24.5 million) for its role in a November oil spill off Brazil’s coast, ANP Director Magda Chambriard said Monday.

The ANP is expected to release its report on the incident, in which a drilling accident caused between 2,400 and 3,000 barrels of oil to leak into the Atlantic Ocean from cracks in the seabed, later this week.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event in Rio de Janeiro, Ms. Chambriard said Chevron would be fined for more than 20 infractions related to the spill. The ANP’s press office confirmed Ms. Chambriard’s comments, with a spokesman adding that a total of 25 separate infractions were discovered during the regulator’s investigation.

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Little harm from Chevron November oil spill off Brazil

July 11, 2012

Reuters, 07/11/2012

(Reuters) – A November oil spill at an offshore field operated by Chevron Corp. northeast of Rio de Janeiro did not kill or harm marine life, the Globo newspaper said on Wednesday, citing a crime lab report from the Brazilian Federal Police.

The lab report on the spill, completed in April but not seen by the public, was obtained by Globo this week, the paper said, without saying how it got the information.

Brazilian courts and police typically do not allow the public access to criminal investigations and court proceedings until a verdict is reached. Prosecutors and police tend, also, to leak information to the media in high-profile cases. Nearly all Brazilian legal proceedings are conducted in writing rather than in open testimony in court.

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New prosecutor also seeks to stop Chevron Brazil operations

April 20, 2012

Reese Ewing – Reuters, 04/19/2012

A new prosecutor in the case against Chevron Corp and drilling firm Transocean Ltd for an offshore oil spill said Thursday he will seek to suspend the companies’ operations in Brazil, a sign that he may be just as tough on the companies as his predecessor.

Prosecutor Celso de Albuquerque Silva said he was seeking the injunction on grounds that the companies’ activities are dangerous to the environment and society. Chevron and Transocean face a combined $22 billion in lawsuits, and several executives face prison, because of two incidents in which oil leaked off Brazil’s coast in November and March.

A similar request by a different prosecutor in the same court was rejected last Wednesday. In that case, the judge said any suspension was the responsibility of Brazil’s national petroleum agency, and therefore outside the court’s jurisdiction.

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Brazil prosecutor stripped of Chevron court case

April 19, 2012

Reese Ewing – Reuters, 04/18/2012

The Brazilian federal prosecutor pressing criminal and civil litigation against Chevron Corp and drilling-rig operator Transocean Ltd for an offshore drilling accident has lost control of the cases.

A judge moved a criminal case against Chevron and Transocean to a court in Rio de Janeiro, a court document said on Wednesday, removing crusading prosecutor Eduardo Santos de Oliveira from the proceeding.

The criminal case was the last of three high-profile cases by Santos de Oliveira to be moved to Rio, including two 20 billion reais ($11 billion) lawsuits against the companies.

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The Brazilian oil spill: Overreaction creates great long opportunity

April 19, 2012

Seeking Alpha, 04/18/2012

(Seeking Alpha)

The BP (BP) spill has sure put traders and investors on edge. While a number of leaking rigs, fires, and other events, have occurred since the fateful spill two years ago, the spill off the coast of Brazil is an actual event that has moved the markets. The fact that Transocean (RIG) was again party to a spill that involves a large governmental lawsuit right at the time it seems near a settlement with BP seems to have spooked traders and investors as well.

Let’s look at the share price reaction in Transocean’s shares since the news was announced shortly after shares reached their one-year high, following the announcement that Transocean’s deepest water rigs had secured a new and impressive $714,000 a day rate.

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