Offshore Activity

Ibama denies license to BP in the Foz do Amazonas Basin

Ibama has denied licensing and has ordered BP to complete environmental studies for a well drilling campaign in the FZA-M-59 exploratory well area, which was won in the 11th round bids in 2013. This is the  second time in 2017 that the environmental body asks for complementation for the studies of the British company in the region.

The text criticizes the documentation presented by BP on several points, including the impact of the operation on marine life. The document indicates inconsistency of the EIA in topics such as pollution control, compensation plan of the fishing activity and calculation of impact of presence of oil on the local fauna.

“Based on the analysis of the Environmental Impact Study of the Well Drilling Activity in Block FZA-M-59, in the Foz do Amazonas Basin – Revision, it was concluded that further clarification and information is still necessary for continuity of the licensing process of the proposed activity, “concluded the report, which was signed by five Ibama analysts.

This is the second time this year that Ibama issues an opinion denying the license to BP in Foz do Amazonas Bssin. At the beginning of the year, a first document from the agency stated that the company refused to “implement all the environmental projects proposed by IBAMA” while not proposing compatible alternatives and requested that the company commit itself to implement necessary “monitoring, mitigation or compensation measures”. for the activity.

BP is one of four petroleum companies that have a licensing process with Ibama for well drilling in Foz do Amazonas – a process that has lasted since March 2015, when BP presented its first version of the environmental impact study to Ibama.

Environmental licensing processes for oil exploration in the region are considered sensitive at IBAMA and are accompanied by environmental conservation organizations due to the discovery of a huge area – at least 9.5 km2 – dominated by a rare coral reef, capable of survive in the murky waters of the river. Earlier this year, Greenpeace launched a global campaign to mobilize against oil exploration in the region titled “Defend the Corals of the Amazon.” Some scholars say, however, that the existence of coral has been known since the 1970s. Since then, more than 90 wells have been drilled in Foz do Amazonas without any accident or damage to the environment.

In addition to BP, France’s Total, Brazil’s Queiroz Galvão E & P and Petrobras also applied for drilling licenses in the region. In August, Ibama denied Total’s license. The agency issued a hard document signed by the president of Ibama, Suely Araújo, which caused stress in the Ministry of Mines and Energy on the eve of the 14th Round of oil auction, held in September.

Government sectors have been dissatisfied with what they consider to be Ibama’s rigidity in assessments for licenses in Foz do Amazonas Basin. The uncertainty whether the licenses will be issued or not has recently led the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE) to withdraw from the 15th round of bids, scheduled for March next year, new blocks that would be offered for exploration in the region.

The oil companies that took out blocks at the mouth of the Amazon during the 11th round of the ANP in 2013 during the Dilma Rousseff administration are planning to drill 12 wells in the region. The boldest is Total, which maintains the most up-to-date schedule in the licensing process and intends to drill nine wells in the area. Petrobras has a license application but it is not among its priorities.

According to IBAMA, BP is reviewing the environmental impact studies that should be submitted to the agency in February.

BP informed through its press office that it received a technical opinion requesting clarifications from the environmental impact study presented on March 31, 2015, continuing the licensing process of the FZA-M-59 block.

Categories: Offshore Activity

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