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.
April 16, 2012
Leila Coimbra & Jeb Blount – Reuters, 04/13/2012
A Brazilian judge moved two $11 billion civil cases against Chevron and drilling-rig operator Transocean related to an offshore drilling accident and spills to a different court in Rio de Janeiro, a decision that removes a crusading prosecutor from the cases.
The momentum is shifting in the legal battle stemming from a rupture in November at a well that Transocean was drilling in the Frade field, which Chevron operates.
The latest development, published in a court filing on Friday, comes on the heels of another decision in favor of the companies earlier this week from a separate court, in which a judge denied a request to bar the two companies from operating in Brazil.
April 12, 2012
News Wires -Upstream Online,04/12/2012
Back to the drawing board: Brazilian federal prosecutor Eduardo Santos de Oliveira's latest bid to ban Chevron and Transocean from Brazil has failed.
A Brazilian judge denied an injunction seeking to bar US oil company Chevron and drill-rig operator Transocean from operating in Brazil after two offshore oil leaks, a federal court in Rio de Janeiro said on Wednesday.
The judge, Guilherme Diefenthaeler of the appellate division of the Second Region Federal Court, ruled that granting the injunction would interfere with the legal authority of the ANP, Brazil’s oil regulator, to manage the oil industry and would be an improper judicial intrusion into public administration.
The ruling was made on an appeal by a federal prosecutor who had his initial request to issue the injunction banning Chevron and Transocean denied by a lower court, Reuters reported.
April 6, 2012
Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 04/05/2012
Just like in the movies, it takes just one man, one hero. And in Brazil that hero is one Federal prosecutor named Eduardo Santos de Oliveira.
After an oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, one man takes on Chevron.
Oliveira is at it again. After filing one R$20 billion ($11 billion) civil and criminal case against the U.S. multinational for its November spill at the Frade field in the Campos basis deep under the Atlantic Ocean, the federal prosecutor filed another one for the same amount on April 3. That’s roughly $21 billion for 2,400 barrels of oil, all of which have been cleaned up, none of which have killed a single marine mammal, and not a drop of which have washed up on the beautiful shores of Rio de Janeiro.
April 2, 2012
Samantha Pearson – FT, 04/01/2012
Chevron’s oil leak off the coast of Rio de Janeiro last November was less than a thousandth of the size of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill, but it could still cripple the company’s Brazilian business and prompt wider regulatory changes, lawyers and government officials have said.
Brazil’s largest oil workers’ union on Wednesday became the latest group to mount an attack on Chevron and its drilling contractor Transocean, filing a civil lawsuit that called for their expulsion from the country’s lucrative oilfields.
A federal prosecutor in Rio is already suing the companies for $11bn in damages and last week demanded prison sentences for 17 of their employees, including 31 years in jail for the head of Chevron’s Brazilian operations, George Buck.
March 29, 2012
Samantha Pearson – FT, 03/28/2012
Chevron and Transocean are facing further legal battles in Brazil’s promising oil market after the industry’s largest workers union filed a civil lawsuit against the companies for last year’s spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.
The US oil company and its drilling partner are already facing a R$20bn (US$11bn) lawsuit and criminal charges for the leak at Chevron’s Frade field last November, which was small by industry standards at no more than 3,000 barrels.
FUP, Brazil’s oil workers federation, said on Wednesday it had filed a civil lawsuit at a federal court in Rio de Janeiro requesting the cancellation of the companies’ rights to operate in the lucrative offshore field.
March 26, 2012
Jeb Blount and Jos Schneyer – Reuters, 03/23/2012
A judge in Campos, Brazil, could shift the criminal charges filed against Chevron and drill-rig operator Transocean to Rio de Janeiro, a decision that would remove a crusading prosecutor from the case.
Eduardo Santos de Oliveira, a federal prosecutor based in Campos, in Rio de Janeiro’s interior, told Reuters on Friday a jurisdictional review is under way, which could delay any formal criminal indictment of the firms and their employees for weeks.
Oliveira filed criminal charges against Chevron, Transocean and 17 of their employees in Brazil this week for alleged crimes related to a November offshore oil spill in Brazil’s Frade field, which Chevron operates.
March 20, 2012
Jeb Blount – Reuters, 03/20/2012
In this handout image released by Chevron on March 19, 2012, containment equipment is pictured in the Frade Field, in the waters of the Campos Basin in Rio de Janeiro state. A Brazilian prosecutor plans to allege this week that Chevron and Transocean should not have drilled a deep-water well that leaked in November, legal documents showed, giving a glimpse into expected criminal charges that could slow the rush to develop Brazil's vast offshore oil wealth. The allegations are part of police and prosecutors' reports being used to assemble criminal indictments against oil company Chevron, drill-rig operator Transocean, and 17 of their executives and employees.
A Brazilian prosecutor plans to allege this week that Chevron and Transocean should not have drilled a deep-water well that leaked in November, legal documents showed, giving a glimpse into expected criminal charges that could slow the rush to develop Brazil’s vast offshore oil wealth.
The accident cracked geological structures in the reservoir and oil will continue leaking from the field until it is emptied, the prosecutor Eduardo Santos de Oliveira told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday.
The prosecutor’s comments expanded on his investigations and police reports being used to assemble criminal indictments against U.S. oil company Chevron, drill-rig operator Transocean, and 17 of their executives and employees.
March 13, 2012
Joshua Shcneyer and Jeb Blount – Reuters, 03/12/2012
A Chevron sign is displayed at a gas station in Buckeye, Arizona October 27, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott
George Buck, a slim, towering American who runs Chevron’s (CVX.N) operations in Brazil, is often flanked by lawyers these days.
Since November, when the No. 2 U.S. oil company spilled at least 2,400 barrels of oil offshore Brazil, the local attorneys have helped Buck navigate the legal system, sometimes doubling as Portuguese translators and cultural consultants.
The soft-spoken engineer, in the country since 2009, has good reason to measure his words. Chevron is being sued for more than $11 billion by Brazilian prosecutors, although its leak was less than 0.1 percent the size of BP’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Officials say they are preparing criminal charges against Chevron, Buck and several of his colleagues.