Environment Minister Marina Silva said that Petrobras should start thinking about an energy transition, instead of seeking new exploration frontiers.
On Wednesday, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment (IBAMA) denied the environmental license requested by the State-owned company Petrobras to explore crude oil fields at the mouth of the Amazon River.
The license was the only authorization that Petrobras lacked to begin drilling in the "Equatorial Margin", a marine basin at the Atlantic Ocean in which large hydrocarbon deposits would exist.
"Petrobras had every opportunity to amend critical aspects of its project, which still presents worrying inconsistencies related to the socio-environmental consequences of the oil operation in the new exploratory frontier," said IBAMA President Rodrigo Agostinho.
His decision was accompanied by a technical report showing the need to carry out an Environmental Assessment of the Sedimentary Area, which would make it possible to identify the areas affected by the exploitation of crude oil and gas. This assessment, however, has never been performed.
Agostinho explained that the mouth of the Amazon is considered a region of "extreme socio-environmental sensitivity" because it is home to environmental reserves, indigenous territories, mangroves, coral reefs, and endangered marine species, such as gray dolphins and manatees.
The Brazilian Equatorial Margin is a deep-water region of the Atlantic where Guyana and Suriname have already discovered reserves with up to 13 billion barrels of crude.
Environment Minister Marina Silva said that instead of seeking new exploration frontiers, Petrobras should start thinking about an energy transition, especially at a time when climate change has become a global priority.
This position marks a clear difference in public policy between President Lula da Silva and the administration of Jair Bolsonaro, who defended the granting of oil exploitation permits in environmentally sensitive areas.