Chevron, Transocean get notice to halt operations in Brazil

[Story updated with Petrobras filing writ of mandamus, 4th paragraph]

Chevron Corp. and drilling contractor Transocean Ltd. have each received injunctions giving them 30 days to stop operating in Brazil stemming from an oil seep in Frade field offshore Brazil during 2011.

Transocean said it was served Sept. 27, while Chevron received notice Sept. 25. Both companies are expected to try and the injunction overturned or suspended. The injunction was issued in July.

Transocean has 10 rigs under contract for Brazil, including 8 rigs operating for Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras).

Petrobras, a partner with Chevron in Frade field, filed a writ of mandamus, in the capacity of injured third party, to suspend the injunction that ordered the shutdown of the activities of Transocean Brasil Ltd.

Petrobras filed the writ of mandamus seeking the immediate suspension of the injunction in light of the consequences to Petrobras activities.

The injunction concerns a November 2011 oil seep from an appraisal well at Frade oil field in 3,800 ft of water 370 km northeast of Rio de Janeiro. Upon receiving approval from the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum on Nov. 13, 2011, Chevron Brazil immediately began plugging and abandonment activities.

Chevron reported well-control operations significantly reduced an oil seep believed to be coming from an appraisal well (OGJ, Nov. 21, 2011, Newsletter).

The operator with 51.74% interest, Chevron started production at Frade field in 2009 (OGJ Online, June 23, 2009). Partners in the field are Petroleo Brasileiro 30%, and Frade Japao Petroleo Ltda., a joint venture of Inpex Corp., Sojitz Corp., and Japan Oil, Gas & Metals Corp. 18.26%.

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