Transocean served with Brazil drilling injunction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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