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Brazil judge dismisses oil spill lawsuit against Chevron

A Brazilian federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against Chevron [corporate website] after approving a negotiated settlement, closing a lengthy legal battle over a 2011 oil spill. The leak occurred in November 2011, when a Chevron appraisal well leaked 155,000 gallons of oil, and the following March, when oil resumed leaking from the well and Chevron suspended production in that oil field. Brazilian prosecutors sought [Reuters report] USD $18 billion in damages from Chevron and drilling company Transocean Ltd [corporate website]. The judge rejected the prosecutors' criminal charges but prosecutors plan to appeal. The settlement deal with Chevron commits the company to spend money in compensation, and the accord stated that Transocean had no responsibility.

A federal court in Brazil ordered [JURIST report] Chevron and drilling company Transocean to suspend all oil drilling in Brazil within 30 days in August 2012 days in the wake of two oil spills off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. In April that year a Brazilian prosecutor filed an $11 billion lawsuit [JURIST report] against Chevron after the company reported a new leak in the Frade oil field. Chevron initially appealed the $18 billion fine [JURIST report] in January 2012 for pollution in the Amazon jungle. The judgment against Chevron was upheld in January by a three-judge panel of the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbios in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. The $18 billion fine, one of the largest in the history of environmental contamination suits, was originally set at $8.6 billion [JURIST report] in February 2011 but was more than doubled for Chevron's refusal to pay "moral reparations" to the Ecuadorian government, as required by the original ruling.

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