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FACTDROP: Brazil judges uphold Chevron, Transocean operating ban


Brazil judges uphold Chevron, Transocean operating ban

Πηγή: Reuters
By Jeb Blount
August 28 2012

* Judges say state ANP regulator shares blame for accident
* Transocean to use all legal means necessary to overturn

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 28 - An injunction banning No. 2 U.S. oil company Chevron Corp and its drilling contractor Transocean Ltd from operating in Brazil while charges over last November's oil spill are considered was upheld by a panel of three federal judges on Tuesday.

In a strongly-worded decision that could also hurt state-run giant Petrobras, the judges said Chevron and the government's ANP regulator could have but failed to prevent the spill at the Frade offshore field northeast of Rio de Janeiro.

Chevron had "an insufficient culture of safety" and ANP "contributed to the accident by failing to do its job as a regulator," judge Ricardo Perlingeiro said as he read the decision from the bench at the courthouse in Rio de Janiero.

The decision will have little immediate effect on Chevron, which shut Frade, its only field in Brazil, in March. It has since asked the ANP to restart operations.

The companies can still go to the nation's top appeals court in the capital, Brasilia.

It could impact Petrobras, which counts on Transocean to drill some of its most important prospects, however.

"This case is without merit, and Transocean crews acted responsibly and quickly, following the highest industry standards. We have a very strong case and we will use every legal means necessary to prove it," Guy Cantwell, the director of corporate communications said in an email.

He said Transocean rigs continued to operate in Brazil.

Chevron and the ANP were not immediately available for comment.

Chevron owns 52 percent of Frade and is the operator. Brazilian state-led Petrobras owns 30 percent and Frade Japao, a group made up of Japan's Inpex Corp and Sojitz Corp, owns 18 percent.

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