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.
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.
Seeking Alpha, 04/18/2012
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.
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.
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.
Jeb Blount – Reuters, 03/26/2012
The Brazilian judge handling criminal charges against U.S. oil company Chevron , drill-rig operator Transocean and 17 of their employees over a November oil spill granted two of the accused permission to leave Brazil to visit their families, documents posted on Monday on a court Web site showed.
The decision could be a sign courts will be lenient with defendants during a unprecedented Brazilian criminal case that could last years and result in prison sentences of up to 31 years.
The employees, Transocean’s offshore superintendent Gary Marcel Slaney, 58, a Canadian, and British citizen Brian Mara, 45, a Transocean drilling technician, were allowed to leave Brazil on March 21, the day the charges were filed and return April 19, according to documents on the Federal Court Web site.
Steve Gelsi – MarketWatch, 03/26/2012
Chevron has faced heat in Brazil for leaking about 2,400 barrels of oil from the Frade field 230 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro last November, with criminal charges filed last week against the company as well as drilling contractor Transocean RIG +0.41% .
But one analyst is looking at the bright side.
Pavel Molchanov of Raymond James said Monday that Brazilian officials “appear to be softening their language,” against the San Ramon, Calif.-based oil major.