Transocean evacuates Brazil rig, no oil spilled

SAO PAULO Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:39pm EDT

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Drilling company Transocean, which is facing scrutiny in Brazil after a November spill, briefly evacuated personnel from a drilling rig near Rio de Janeiro's coast after it listed slightly during maintenance, the company said on Sunday.

The incident occurred late Saturday in the Guanabara Bay and resulted in some water coming onboard the rig, the company said in a statement. No oil was spilled since such rigs do not carry crude oil, spokesman Guy Cantwell said via email.

"The water taken on by the GSF Arctic 1 has been stopped and is being pumped out. Some personnel who had been evacuated as a safety precaution have returned to the rig," the statement said.

"The rig is safe and stable, as are all its personnel," the statement continued. "An investigation into the cause of the incident is under way."

Transocean and Chevron Corp face a combined $22 billion in lawsuits, and several executives face prison, because of two incidents in which oil leaked off Brazil's coast in November and March.

A Brazilian prosecutor filed a request on April 19 seeking to stop the companies' activities in Brazil on the grounds that they are dangerous to the environment.

Successive leaks and other problems have caused some environmental advocates to warn that Brazil may face greater than expected challenges in safely extracting its offshore oil, one of the biggest crude finds in the past decade.

(Reporting by Brian Winter; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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