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  • Greenpeace activists protest during Total's annual shareholders meeting, against the French oil and gas major's quest to the drill in the ecologically sensitive Amazon basin.

    Greenpeace activists protest during Total's annual shareholders meeting, against the French oil and gas major's quest to the drill in the ecologically sensitive Amazon basin. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 June 2018

As Total's chief executive, Patrick Pouyanne, began his talk, four activists descended by ropes from the ceiling above the stage.

Over 250 Greenpeace activists gatecrashed Total's annual shareholders' meeting in Paris Friday as the oil company continues to developed plans to drill in French Guiana and Brazil's Foz do Amazonas basin.

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As the firm's chief executive, Patrick Pouyanne, began his speech to shareholders', four activists descended by ropes from the ceiling above the stage, according to The Guardian.

Twenty more burst into the Palais de Congres, some chaining themselves to fixtures in the hallway. The meeting was disrupted by the blowing of whistles and repeated chants against the oil company.

The French oil major wants to explore Brazil’s Foz do Amazonas basin, but Brazil’s environmental agency rejected its licence application. Photo: Reuters
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Meanwhile, the remaining activist protested outside a location deriding the firm for its ecologically-unfriendly projects.

“We have been campaigning for more than a year and a half,” said Edina Ifticene, an activist who was invited to address the meeting to shed light on the planned demonstrations. “Last year at the annual meeting we had a share [of stock] and so asked questions of the company and provided a lot of evidence and arguments. They said everything is fine and there is no ecological risk. This year we decided to take direct action, we want Total to listen to us.”

Some geologists estimate that up to 14 billion barrels of oil may be in the Foz do Amazonas basin. If so, the quantity surpasses the entire proven reserves located in the Gulf of Mexico.

A Greenpeace activist pours oil on her hand during a demonstration outside the Palais des Congres after they disrupted Total's annual shareholders' meeting in Paris. Photo: Reuters
 

However, on Tuesday, Brazil's environmental agency denied Total's application to explore the region for the fourth time, requesting more information from the firm.

Despite discovering a massive coral reef near the location Total wants to drill, a Greenpeace expedition documented more coral reef in the precise drilling location in April.

The company is also heavily invested in offshore oil production in French Guiana.

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