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A Brazilian judge has dropped criminal charges against 17 employees of Chevron Corp and Transocean Ltd for an offshore oil spill case in Rio de Janeiro in 2011.
The criminal case carried penalties of up to 31 years while the civil suit sought as much as 40 billion reais ($20.4 billion) in damages.
The civil case – Brazil’s biggest environmental lawsuit – will continue.
“We are committed to resolving any remaining issues surrounding this incident as well as sharing important lessons learned that will benefit future operations in Brazil,” Chevron said in a statement on Wednesday.
In 2011 at the site of Chevron’s offshore oil field, about 2,400 barrels of oil had escaped through the well bore, seeped up into the rock, then escaped through fissures in the seafloor.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff expanded the amount of acreage offered in Brazil’s first oil exploration auction since 2008 by 68 per cent.
This is expected to increase the government’s auction revenue by raising as much as 10 billion reais ($4.9 billion).