Petrobras Challenges Ibama's Decision to Reject Amapá Offshore Drilling Application


Brazilian oil company Petrobras said Wednesday it would file a request later this week with Brazil's environmental protection agency Ibama to reconsider the decision to deny the environmental license to drill an exploratory well in block FZA-M-059, located in deep waters in Amapá, offshore Brazil.

Ibama last week rejected Petrobras' requests to drill a well in the Amapá area at the mouth of the Amazon River, due to a "set of technical inconsistencies" and following recommendations of analysts from Ibama's Environmental Licensing Board.

According to Reuters, a technical report from Ibama had previously advised against the request, citing discrepancies in environmental studies, inadequate measures for communicating with indigenous communities, and insufficiencies in Petrobras' plan to safeguard the region's wildlife.

Petrobras said Wednesday it "argues that it met the requirements set forth in the reference legislation for the bidding process for block FZA-M-059 and that it complied with all the technical requirements demanded by Ibama for the project. The emergency response structure proposed by the company is the largest in the country. Even so, Petrobras is ready to meet any additional demands that may remain."

"It is important to emphasize that the Sedimentary Area Environmental Assessment is a policy instrument under the shared responsibility of the Ministries of Environment (MMA) and Mines and Energy (MME) according to Interministerial Ordinance No198/2012," Petrobras said.

"The Block FZA-M-59, object of the environmental licensing in question, was acquired in the 11th ANP Bidding Round held in May 2013. At the time, the granting process for the blocks offered was subsidized by the opinions of the GT PEG - Working Group that included Ibama, ICMBIO and MMA, and considered that the FZA-M-59 block was suitable to be offered and licensed, which leads to the conclusion that the challenges signaled were all technically surmountable," Petrobras said.

"From the concession through a bidding process, Petrobras has a commitment signed with the ANP to drill eight exploratory wells in the Amapá Deep Waters region, in the Foz do Amazonas sedimentary basin. Refusal on the grounds of environmental unfeasibility may result in litigation and fines, in addition to compromising the assessment of the region's potential, as well as energy security and the country's own fair and safe energy transition," Petrobras said.

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