Total transfers to partners control of sensitive Amazon reefs exploration blocks
BP, Petronas partners in five Foz do Amazonas blocks
- Long-running struggle to secure drilling permits
Comes amid growing pressure over oil exploration
By Robert Perkins/Platts
Petroleumworld 09 10 2020
Total has decided to resign its operatorship of five exploration blocks, in the environmentally sensitive the Foz do Amazonas Basin, 120 km offshore Brazil, the French oil major said Sept. 7.
Total said it notified its partners BP and state-run Petrobras of its decision on Aug. 19 of blocks FZA-M-57, FZA-M-86, FZA-M-88, FZA-M-125 and FZA-M-127.
No reason was given for the decision but exploration projects in Foz do Amazonas have been facing strong resistance from environmental groups following the discovery of a previously unknown coral reef in the turbid waters of the Amazon River delta.
Total has been looking to drill seven exploration well on the acreage in the area in a long-running struggle to secure approval from Brazilian federal environmental regulator IBAMA. Total first started licensing the exploration drilling project in 2014.
The move also comes amid rising public sensitivity over new oil exploration. BP last month pledged to undertake no new oil exploration in new countries as part of its transition to cleaner energy.
Total said it now has six months to appoint a new operator for the blocks, which it was awarded in 2013. Until then, Total said it has a duty to continue monitoring all regulatory processes on behalf of its partners Petrobras and BP.
Total's portfolio in Brazil currently includes 24 blocks, with 10 operated. In 2019, its production in the country averaged 16,000 b/d.
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