ANP to again appeal Transocean ban amid declining output
BY DIANA KINCH
RIO DE JANEIRO -- ANP said it will again appeal against a court order to suspend offshore driller Transocean rigs operations in Brazil due to concerns over falling oil output. The ANP will next week file the appeal in Brazil's high court of justice, because the regulator fears that suspending Transocean's activities would negatively affect Brazil's oil production levels, which are on a declining trend, ANP president Magda Chambriard told reporters in Rio de Janeiro, a spokesman confirmed.
An earlier injunction from a Rio de Janeiro state judge ordered a ban on Transocean's drilling operations in the aftermath of an oil spill at Frade field in the Atlantic Ocean last November. Output at the field, where Chevron is the operator, has been halted.
A previous appeal by ANP against the injunction was denied. However, the ban on Transocean's operations hasn't yet been enforced. "We haven't yet been served with notice from the court," a Transocean spokesman said.
Transocean currently has 10 rigs operating in Brazil, eight of which are being used by Petrobras. Losing the output from these rigs would have "a negative impact" on Brazil's oil and gas production levels "which would fall even more," the ANP spokesman said.
This year Brazil's oil production is on a declining path, due to a "natural decline" in fields which have been producing for some time, the ANP spokesman said. ANP is analyzing the request by Chevron for a restart of its production operations in Brazil, the spokesman said.
According to ANP's estimates, production at Frade would in future be around only 39,000 bopd, down from the 79,000 bopd prior to the 2011 accident, because Chevron would in future endeavor to inject less water into oil wells there.
"We're working with the ANP on all matters relating to Frade field, including the safe restart of production there," a Chevron spokesman said,Chevron, however, declined to confirm its likely production levels at Frade following an eventual restart.
Dow Jones Newswires