Brazil's Petrobras wants ban on oil driller Transocean lifted


An airliner making its final approach (C) and oil rigs can be seen in this panorama of the Guanabara Bay at daybreak in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 24, 2012.



SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Brazil's Petrobras on Friday asked courts to lift a ban on operations of rig owner Transocean in connection with a major ocean oil spill last year.

The state-owned energy giant said it filed a civil action before a Rio court as an "injured third party," asking for the immediate removal of a July 31 injunction that ordered oil firm Chevron and Transocean to stop drilling and shipping activities in Brazil within 30 days, reported Agence France-Presse.  While the court-ban decision was made in July, Transocean was officially notified that the injunction would take effect this week.

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AFP also noted that Brazil's national oil regulator put the number of barrels of crude spilled in a November 2011 accident off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state at 2400.

Petrobras not only actively uses seven Transocean rigs, with one more in dock, but it is also a partner in Chevron's Frade field, according to Dow Jones Newswires. The oil giant's exploration and production director José Formigli said in August there was "no reason for this ban."

If the ban is not lifted, it could seriously disrupt exploration and drilling in one of the world's most promising offshore oil frontiers, said Reuters. It removes about 13 percent of the drilling fleet in Brazil.