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US court ruling clears path for Petrobras to challenge $622M arbitration award

Petróleo Brasileiro SA - Petrobras said March 8 that the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas denied the temporary restraining order filed by Vantage Deepwater Drilling, Inc. over Petrobras' motion to vacate a $622.02 million arbitration award rendered against it.

The court also heard the petition filed by Vantage Deepwater Co. and Vantage Deepwater Drilling Inc. to confirm the arbitral award; however, the court has not yet made a decision.

Petrobras said it will continue to challenge the validity of the arbitration award in court.

The Brazilian state-controlled company filed the motion to vacate the award in August 2018, based on the arguments of a dissenting arbitrator who refused to sign the final decision of the International Center for Dispute Resolution that ruled in favor of Vantage Drilling and ordered the enforcement of the contract. The arbitrators voted 2-1.

Vantage was granted payment of the award in the Netherlands through the blocking of shares due to Petrobras in its Netherlands-based subsidiaries, amounts and assets.

The Vantage arbitration arose from a drilling services contract implemented in the Gulf of Mexico, which was "procured by corruption" based on a widespread money-laundering and corruption investigation known as Operation Car Wash.