* Company in talks with partners, ANP, in bid to restart
* Chevron sees proposed damages, Brazil ban as excessive
* Chevron-Transocean ban has yet to officially take effect
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 16 Chevron, the No.
2 U.S. oil company, has appealed against an injunction banning
it and its drilling contractor Transocean Ltd from
operating in Brazil while civil and criminal charges over an oil
spill last November are judged.
The company is also looking to restart output at the site of
the spill, the Frade offshore field northeast of Rio de Janeiro,
Chevron press spokesman Kurt Glaubitz said in an e-mailed
response to questions from Reuters.
Chevron shut down operations there in March after more oil
was found in surrounding waters.
Prosecutors are seeking nearly $20 billion in damages for
the spill and have charged 17 Chevron and Transocean executives
with crimes that carry jail terms of up to 31 years. Chevron
denies criminal wrongdoing and says the proposed damages are
The accident leaked about 3,000 barrels, less than one
thousandth of BP's 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the United
States, with Chevron saying the source of the spill was
contained in four days.
"Chevron's response to the incident was implemented
according to the law, industry standards and in a timely
manner," Chevron said in a statement.
"Monitoring of the incident area shows no discernible
environmental impact to marine life or human health. No oil has
reached Brazil's coast nor any other country."
The Brazilian prosecutor, Eduardo Santos de Oliveira, who
won the injunction has called the November spill and later
unexplained leaks in the area one of the worst ecological
disasters in Brazil's history and is seeking the country's
largest ever civil damages.
The injunction against operating in Brazil, sought by
Oliveira and granted by a Rio de Janeiro-based federal court on
Aug. 1, carries penalties of up to 500 million reais ($247
million) a day for non-compliance.
It prohibits Chevron and Transocean from participating in
oil production and transport operations in Brazil.
The injunction has yet to come into effect, Chevron and
Transocean officials said. Unless overturned it will take effect
30 days after the ruling is fully processed by the courts and
formally served on the companies.
Since March, when the Frade field was shut, Chevron and its
partners in the field have been reviewing its geology and
working with Brazil's petroleum regulator, the ANP, to
understand the causes of the leak and determine if production
can be restarted.
Chevron owns 52 percent of Frade and is the operator.
Brazilian state-led Petrobras owns 30 percent and
Frade Japao, a group made up of Japan's Inpex Corp. and
Sojitz Corp., owns 18 percent.
Petrobras said Wednesday it would back Chevron's efforts to
restart output and that it does not agree with the court and
prosecutors' view of the spill.
Petrobras owns 30 percent of the output from Frade, which
had achieved production of more than 70,000 barrels a day before
the spill. The field's closure has helped cut Petrobras output
in recent months despite a $237 billion five-year expansion
If Transocean, the world's largest operator of offshore
drilling rigs, is also banned, Petrobras would have to give up
drilling systems operating in some of its most promising
Transocean has 10 drilling platforms operating in Brazil.
Seven of them work for Petrobras, according to Transocean and
its latest Fleet Report.
Transocean considers the charges unfounded and has promised
to fight them, its press office said. It also plans to appeal