Chevron calls second Brazilian civil lawsuit 'outrageous'

A federal prosecutor in Brazil on Apr. 3 filed a second $10.9 billion civil lawsuit against Chevron Corp. and drilling contractor Transocean Ltd., prompting Chevron to issue a statement saying it has responded appropriately to seeps in Frade oil field off Brazil.

“The filing of the second lawsuit is another in a series of outrageous actions brought by the same district attorney,” Chevron said, calling both lawsuits “without merit.”

Last year, Chevron reported an oil seep in Frade field northeast of Rio de Janeiro. In March, Chevron identified a small seep in a new area of Frade field.

Chevron sealed an appraisal well after the November seep from the field in 3,800 ft of water 370 km northeast of Rio de Janeiro in the Campos basin. The 2011 seep was stopped within 4 days, Chevron said.

The most recent lawsuit, filed in federal court in Campos, seeks to prevent Chevron and Transocean from operating in Brazil. The first civil lawsuit was filed in November. A criminal lawsuit also has been filed in the 2011 seep (OGJ, Mar. 26, 2012, p. 24).

"The 20-billion-real figure in both civil lawsuits is arbitrary and has no legal and factual basis," Chevron said. “When the second seep was identified, Chevron temporarily suspended production at Frade field to evaluate the situation. Chevron Brazil and its partners are conducting a comprehensive technical study to better understand the geological features of the area.”

Chevron said it collaborated with Brazilian authorities.

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