A federal court has given Chevron and Transocean 30 days to suspend all petroleum drilling and transportation operations in Brazil until investigations are completed into two oil spills off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.
The court said in a statement posted on Wednesday on its website that each company will be fined 500 million reals, or about $244m, for each day they fail to comply with the suspension.
About 155,000 gallons of oil crude began seeping from cracks in the ocean floor at the site of a Chevron appraisal well in November. Chevron has placed the amount of oil that leaked at 110,000 gallons.
Two weeks later, the National Petroleum Agency said the seepage was under control. But in March, oil again started leaking and Chevron voluntarily suspended production in the field.
“Two environmental accidents in the space of just four months and the lack of equipment needed to identify the origin of the leaks and contain them, shows that the two companies do not have the conditions necessary to operate the wells in an environmentally safe manner,” Judge Ricardo Perlingeiro said in his ruling.
Chevron said in an emailed statement it planned to appeal the court’s decision.