A Brazilian prosecutor plans to file criminal charges against Chevron Corp and some of its local managers within weeks, adding the threat of prison sentences to an US$11 billion civil lawsuit as punishment for a November offshore oil spill. The backlash against the Chevron spill has highlighted the risks that energy companies face as they rush to get a piece of Brazil’s oil bonanza.
As a side note, we compare below three oil spill accidents caused in thelast few years, by volume of oil spilled and charges…

By looking at the figure above, the R$20Billion fee to Chevron seems somewhat off and out of context. But how off?
Doing the math: the accident in the Gulf of Mexico cost BPabout US$4,000 in penalties for each barrel of oil spilled. In Brazil, the samebarrel of oil spilled will cost Chevron about US$6 million, about 1,500 times more.

How does the Brazilian government treat Petrobras insuch cases? Here is how: In the last three years alone, state-ownedPetrobras has spilled 11,000 barrels of oil, three times the amount spilled byChevron, and it was fined US$225 million in total. How much it has paid so far?A mere US$220,000 (0.1% of the total), which seems like good new to Chevron. After all, in Brazil, charges in cases such as these can take a decade before all appeals are exhausted…
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