At an event with journalists, partners of ICS defended the protection of the region and affirmed that prohibiting oil exploration in the location will not result in any supply shortages in the country

In May, Ibama published a negative opinion regarding the exploration, by Petrobras, of an oil block 160 km off the coast of Oiapoque (AP). In the decision, the Ibama president, Rodrigo Agostinho, was following the guidance of the technical team with respect to the argument that the project “presents worrying inconsistencies involving its safe operation in a new exploratory frontier of significant socioenvironmental vulnerability.”

A round table was organized by the Institute for Climate and Society and moderated by Amanda Ohara, the coordinator of Initiatives of the Energy Portfolio. Roberto Schaeffer, professor of Energy Economics of the Energy Planning Program at COPPE/UFRJ, explained that, even if the country did not explore potential oil reserves in the Equatorial Margin (one of the priority areas for Petrobras and where the mouth of the Amazon River is located), there would be no shortage of oil and its derivatives.

This is because, he says, when the current pre-salt fields reduce their production capacity (at the end of the decade), there are others still to be explored. Furthermore, the demand tends to be in decline up to 2030, and then even more so up to 2050, due to the trend towards the electrification of public urban transport and private vehicles, in addition to the increase in the use of biofuels. “Oil use will drop to zero before the oil production in the world falls to zero,” he added. O Valor wrote this article on the subject.

According to Schaeffer, although the oil exploration in the Equatorial Margin may happen, there is no justification for it to be started at the Foz do Amazonas. A few years ago, at this very location, a bank of corals was discovered on the site, which must be unique in the world – and are at the risk of bleaching, susceptible to disease or even death.

Greenpeace reports in an article that the biodiversity of the corals, discovered in 2016, is still far from being completely cataloged by experts, and that the Petrobras project is also a threat to the indigenous, quilombola and riverside communities, who use the biodiversity of the seas as a source of income and for their subsistence.

A report by Broadcast recalls that Professor Schaeffer also explained the fact that the oil exploration in the Amazon region devalues the argument of the government that pre-salt oil is less polluting than, for example, oil from Venezuela. “The environmental risk of finding and producing oil is very high, and if (the quality) of the oil is not as good as pre-salt oil, it will be economically worse,” he explained.

Finally, there is the size of the operation. The Equatorial Margin is much larger than the Foz Do Amazonas: it extends from Rio Grande do Norte to Amapá, with four basins in addition to Foz: Potiguar, Pará-Maranhão, Barreirinhas and Ceará. We are keeping a close watch on what happens next.

The aerial view of the river surrounded by dense green vegetation. Amazon River, South America.

Latest blog posts