Chevron (NYSE: CVX) and Transocean (NYSE: RIG)may soon face criminal charges in a Brazilian court, in a trial stemming from a November 2011 oil spill. The two oil companies will soon know which court will preside over the criminal trial.
The criminal charges are in addition to a separate $11 billion civil suit filed in Brazil after the spill. The country's petroleum authority said the spill was the product of negligence.
In a jurisdiction report, Brazilian prosecutor's office said the criminal case could be heard either in Rio de Janeiro or transferred to Campos dos Goytacazes, north of Rio, Dow Jones reported.
Seventeen employees, including both regional chiefs of Chevron and Transocean, were barred in March from leaving Brazil as authorities readied criminal charges for the spilling of as much as 3,000 barrels of oil offshore of Rio de Janeiro state in November.
Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company, may also be liable for 30 percent of damages in the civil suit, reported Bloomberg on Monday
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Chevron has denied it acted negligently, and has said it is confident evidence will speak for itself in absolving the company and its employees.
Chevron owns a majority share of a well that experienced a surge in pressure during drilling. Transocean is the operator of the rig.
The spike in pressure created fissures in the ocean floor which allowed oil to seep through.