| RIO DE JANEIRO
RIO DE JANEIRO Feb 20 A Brazilian judge dropped
criminal charges against Chevron Corp, Transocean Ltd
and 17 employees resulting from a 2011 offshore oil
spill, three sources with direct knowledge of the case told
Reuters on Wednesday.
Last March a Brazilian prosecutor filed criminal charges
against the companies and employees of both, including Chevron's
former Brazil unit president George Buck. The charges came after
a 3,600 barrel spill in the Frade Field northeast of Rio de
The sources requested anonymity because their employers do
not allow them to speak about the case.
The criminal charges carried potential jail terms of up to
31 years, and came in conjunction with civil lawsuits seeking as
much as 40 billion reais ($20.4 billion).
Prosecutors can still appeal the ruling dismissing the
charges, one of the sources said.
The Frade field is 52 percent owned by Chevron, 30 percent
by Brazil's state-led Petroleo Brasileiro SA and 18
percent by Frade Japão, a group owned by Japanese trading
companies Inpex Corp and Sojitz Corp.
Petrobras, as the Brazilian company is known, Sojitz and
Inpex were never charged in relation to the spill.