March 20, 2012
The chief executives of Chevron Corp.‘s and Transocean Ltd.’s Brazilian units are among 17 executives at the two companies banned from leaving the country pending an investigation into an offshore oil spill.
Chevron’s George Buck and Transocean’s Michael Legrand were on the list of managers that federal prosecutors asked Judge Vlamir Costa Magalhaes to ban from leaving Brazil, according to a copy of the request sent Monday by the prosecutor’s office. The judge issued the ban Friday.
The Nov. 7 leak of 3,000 barrels of oil at Chevron’s $3.6-billion Frade field off the coast of Rio de Janeiro occurred at a time when Brazil is increasing scrutiny of deepwater drilling after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, which was about 1,630 times bigger. Transocean owned the rig involved in last November’s spill.
State and federal lawmakers’ reaction was “out of proportion,” said Cleveland Jones, an oil specialist and geology professor at Rio de Janeiro State University. He said the spill is “far from the coast and it’s a small volume.”
Seepages are common in regions such as the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea, Jones said.