Brazil sues Chevron, Transocean for $10.7 bn over oil spill

The Brazilian government has sued US oil giant Chevron Corp and Switzerland's offshore oil rig operator Transocean Ltd for 20 billion reais ($10.7 billion) for causing an oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, last month.

The civil suit filed yesterday by Brazil's federal prosecutor in Rio de Janeiro also seeks to suspend the companies from operating in the country.

Brazil's oil and gas regulator National Oil Agency (ANP) last month fined Chevron $27.6 million and temporarily suspended all its drilling activities in the country, after the San Ramon, California-based oil major admitted it caused the spill in the Frade field in the oil-rich Campos basin in deep Atlantic waters off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. (See: Brazil suspends Chevron's drilling, fines $27.6 million for causing oil spill)

Although the oil leak has since been capped, ANP had also threatened to impose two additional fines of $28 million each on Chevron for releasing "false information" and for not having adequate equipment to contain the spill.

The federal prosecutor also found 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 a statement posted on the prosecutor's website.

Chevron and Transocean said that they were not aware of the lawsuit and did not respond to requests from news agencies to comment on it.