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Chevron paid Brazil a $12.1 million fine for irregularities related to an oil spill northeast of Rio de Janeiro in November, according to a statement released by the country's oil regulator last week. Chevron received a 30 percent discount for paying promptly and not challenging the violations. Executives with Chevron and Transocean still face up to $20 billion in damages in a civil suit and up to 31 years in prison for last year's 3,600 barrel spill, as Brazil increasingly scrutinizes environmental damage. Prosecutor Eduardo Santos de Oliveira has said that Chevron's drilling damaged the undersea reservoir, creating a "contamination time bomb" and making leaks possible. Oliveira, who is tasked with the largest environmental lawsuit in Brazil's history, said defendants use the nation's generous appeals process and routine delays to escape penalties. A Chevron spokesman said that there had been no coastal or wildlife damages, and accused Oliveira of overreach, but Oliveira said that he hoped the case set a precedent for future environmental lawsuits. At its peak, the Frade field where the spill occurred reached production of 70,000 barrels a day, though an injunction last week banned Chevron from further production until the case is resolved. For the full story, see http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/28/chevron-brazil-fine-idUSL1E8KS1J820120928. Earlier: http://elr.info/international/international-update/chevron-execs-face-jailtime-license-suspension, http://elr.info/international/international-update/brazil-court-denies-chevron-transocean-injunction