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Chevron Corp. (CVX) is creating three teams and hiring executives in Brazil to oversee risk and containment at its Frade field as it challenges a ban on operations and lawsuits because of a spill, a person familiar with the hirings said.
The second-biggest U.S. oil company is hiring about 16 people in coming months for Brazil, including five executives, said the person, who can’t be named because the hirings aren’t public. The positions include managers for the teams, a deputy country manager and an asset development manager for the offshore Frade project where the spill occurred in November, the person said.
The 3,000-barrel leak at Frade prompted federal prosecutors to sue Chevron for a total of 40 billion reais ($20 billion) for harming the environment, as well as environmental criminal charges. The San Ramon, California-based company voluntarily suspended operations in Brazil in March following a second leak at the field off the country’s southeastern coast.
Brazil will fine Chevron 35 million reais for the spill, Magda Chambriard, the head of Brazilian oil regulator ANP, said today in Rio de Janeiro.
In August, a court ordered Chevron and Transocean Ltd. (RIG), owner of the rig used at Frade, to suspend all operations in the country. Last week the ruling was upheld by the Superior Justice Tribunal, the country’s second-highest court, and may be appealed at the Federal Supreme Court.
Chevron will “seek all legal means at our disposal” to overturn the ban, the company said in a Sept. 12 statement after the court order was upheld. Transocean said in a separate statement it has many ways to contest the injunction.
Kurt Glaubitz and Jim Craig, spokesmen for Chevron, didn’t respond to e-mails and telephone messages seeking comment on the hirings.
Frade is Chevron’s sole operating field in the country. The company voluntarily halted about 60,000 barrels a day of output at Frade in March.
Chevron gained 0.7 percent to $118.08 at 1:17 p.m. in New York.
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