Brazil sues Chevron, Transocean for $11bn

15 December 2011, Sweetcrude, RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s federal prosecutor said it wants Chevron and Transocean to shut down operations in Brazil as it sues the two firms for 20 billion Brazilian reais ($11 billion) in damages allegedly caused by an oil spill in early November, a report said.

The prosecutor’s office in Campos, Rio de Janeiro state, has brought the suit against Chevron and Transocean for the alleged environmental damage and also wants a court injunction to stop the two firms’ local operations while the broader case continues, Dow Jones reported.

The lawsuit was submitted to Brazil’s federal-court system Wednesday, Karla Pacheco, an adviser for the prosecutor, Eduardo Santos de Oliveira, told the news wire.

It will take “one or two days” to determine which judge in the city of Campos, in Rio de Janeiro state, will hear the case, Ms. Pacheco said.

Chevron said it had not recieved formal notice of such a suit or an order to suspend operations. It maintained it had managed the spill responsibly.

“The flow of oil from the source was stopped within four days and the company continues to make significant progress in containing any residual oil,” it said in a statement.

“Chevron has also continued to address the surface sheen, which is now less than a single barrel. There have been no coastal or wildlife impacts.”

Transocean, which operated the rig responsible for drilling the appraisal well that caused the accident, said that it hadn’t yet seen the lawsuit.

“We have not seen anything in writing,” Transocean spokesman Guy Cantwell said in an emailed statement. “We are continuing to cooperate with all the authorities in Brazil.”

The drilling accident on 7 November caused an oil release at an appraisal well at the Frade oil field, which is located in deep waters off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state.

The prosecutor alleges that Chevron and Transocean “weren’t able to control the damage caused by the spill of nearly 3,000 barrels of oil, which shows a lack of planning and environmental management by the companies,” according to the statement.

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