Petrobras to resubmit application for drilling well at Amazon River

The region has extremely delicate environmental complexity

Published on 25/05/2023 - 08:13 By Vitor Abdala - Repórter da Agência Brasil - Rio de Janeiro

Petrobras announced on Wednesday, May 24, its intention to request a reconsideration from the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) regarding the denial of an environmental license for drilling a well at the mouth of the Amazon River. The state-owned company plans to submit the necessary documentation later this week.

Petrobras asserts that it has fulfilled all the requirements stipulated by the legislation pertaining to the drilling of the exploratory well in the FZ-M-059 block, situated off the coast of Amapá state in deep waters. The company maintains that it has adhered to all technical prerequisites specified by Ibama.

In response to the denial of Petrobras' request for maritime drilling activities in the basin of the Amazon River mouth, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Marina Silva, affirmed on Tuesday, May 23, that the federal government will uphold Ibama's decision. The official denial of the license, which occurred last week, sparked significant political repercussions, leading to criticism from government allies in the National Congress.

Following a meeting with Chief of Staff Minister Rui Costa at the Planalto Palace, Minister Marina Silva emphasized the significance of Ibama's decision, which was backed by the unanimous opinion of ten technicians who thoroughly assessed the license request for the exploratory well. "Ibama's stance, based on the collective expertise of its technicians, firmly rejected the request. Moving forward, our priority is to ensure strict adherence to the law," stated Minister Silva. The head of Ibama, Rodrigo Agostinho, accompanied Minister Silva during the meeting.

According to Agostinho, the research area sought by Petrobras is situated approximately 189 kilometers away from the city of Oiapoque, in Amapá, and about 900 kilometers from Belém, in the state of Pará. If approved, the logistical base for the exploration project would be established in Belém. It is crucial to recognize that the region encompasses an environmentally delicate ecosystem, presenting significant challenges in establishing the viability of an oil exploration project.

Rodrigo Agostinho highlighted the environmental complexities of the region, stating, "Within that area, we have three indigenous lands, two national parks, and it encompasses 80 percent of the mangrove areas in the country. Moreover, the presence of the powerful water currents from the Amazon River and the marine currents from the north of the country adds to the intricacy. It is undeniably a challenging region where proving the viability of the project is no easy task."

Translation: Mário Nunes -  Edition: Nira Foster

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