Brazil bans oil drills near Ama­zon

Manila Times - - World -

BRASÍLIA: Brazil’s en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tor on Fri­day de­nied French oil gi­ant Total a li­cense to

the mouth of the Ama­zon river.

Reg­u­la­tory agency Ibama said the li­cense was de­nied “due to a set of tech­ni­cal prob­lems” iden­ti­fied dur­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion process.

It ex­plained that the de­ci­sion was based “on the deep un­cer­tain­ties” de­tected in an emer­gency plan pre­sented, “ag­gra­vated by the pos­si­bil­ity of an oil spill that may af­fect the co­ral reef present in the re­gion and by ex­ten­sion marine bio­di­ver­sity.”

A Brazil­ian pros­e­cu­tor warned of “ex­treme en­vi­ron­men­tal peril” in rec­om­mend­ing against the grant­ing of the drilling li­cense ear­lier this year, say­ing that: “The only way to guar­an­tee avoid­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age to the area is to deny the li­cense.”

En­vi­ron­men­tal cam­paign­ers Green­peace, mean­while, warned that a pre­vi­ously dis­cov­ered co­ral reef had been found to ex­tend right into where Total plans to drill.

The find­ing, made dur­ing a re­search ex­pe­di­tion, in­val­i­dated Total’s en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment, which was based on the reefs be­ing lo­cated at least 5 miles (8 kilo­me­ters) from drilling, Green­peace said.

In 2013, Total joined BP and Brazil’s Petro­bras to buy the ex­plo­ration blocks near the mouth of the Ama­zon. But they had yet to win per­mis­sion to search.

Petro­bras is the jewel in Brazil’s crown: Latin Amer­ica’s most valu­able en­ter­prise, a $100-bil­lion oil and gas group whose crude out­put puts the coun­try in the top 10 league glob­ally, ri­valling that of many OPEC members.

Yet it is also the most in­debted oil com­pany in the world. And it is at the heart of the big­gest cor­rup­tion scan­dal to rock Brazil — a graft probe that has claimed nu­mer­ous political scalps, not least that of for­mer left­ist pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Silva.

To­day, Brazil has proven re­serves of 13 bil­lion bar­rels and pro­duces 2.5 mil­lion bar­rels of oil a day, ac­cord­ing to the US En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Petro­bras has seen sharply high-

the sec­ond quar­ter, stronger than ex­pected.

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