Brazil Judge Denies Injunction To Halt Chevron, Transocean Operations
RIO DE JANEIRO -(Dow Jones)- A federal judge in Brazil denied an injunction to suspend the local operations of U.S. oil major Chevron Corp. (CVX) and rig operator Transocean Ltd. (RIG, RIGN.VX), saying that the injunction would have punished the companies before they had a chance to defend themselves in court.
A federal prosecutor had asked for the injunction in the wake of a November oil spill at the Chevron-operated Frade field offshore Brazil. A drilling accident caused an estimated 2,400 to 3,000 barrels of crude oil to seep into the sea from cracks in the seabed. The injunction was part of a 20 billion Brazilian reais ($11.8 billion) civil suit filed against the two companies in December.
"The risk of new accidents should be real and imminent, not merely hypothetical," Judge Raffaele Felice Pirro said in his decision. Absent evidence that the two companies activities represented a real and imminent danger to society, the injunction couldn't be granted, the judge said.
A federal court official said that the civil lawsuit would continue, although its unclear whether the federal prosecutor could seek another injunction or appeal the judge's ruling.
-By Jeff Fick, Dow Jones Newswires; 55-21-2586-6085; Jeff.Fick@dowjones.com