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NGOs claim that new Brazilian oil auction disregards conservation units

The auction will offer 379 exploratory blocks for concessions located in ten Brazilian states

Translated from André Borges publication

BRASÍLIA – The Brazilian National Agency of oil, gas and biofuels (ANP) is holding a new auction round next Wednesday, 13, for the concession of contracts for exploration blocks or rehabilitation and production of oil and natural gas. The auction will offer 379 exploratory blocks for concessions located in ten states: Rio Grande do Norte, Alagoas, Sergipe, Ceará, Bahia, Espírito Santo, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, with 32 of these areas located on the high seas (offshore) and 347 onshore.


The third sector organizations that work in the area question the auction and claim that several areas ignore conservation units, in addition to situations that impact the traditional people. When asked about the matter, the Agency did not respond until the publication of this text.


According to information released by the Climate Observatory, there are situations where the Agency has not completed the Environmental Assessments of Sedimentary Areas, an instrument defined by the National Energy Policy Council for planning the granting of oil areas. “There are blocks being offered in areas of high environmental sensitivity and without consulting the traditional populations of these territories, such as indigenous peoples, quilombolas and artisanal fishermen. The bidding process did not even consider the impact on areas nearby conservation units “, the organization said.


For the institutions, the notice of the permanent offer, published on July 30, 2021 represents a type of “sale” of Brazilian oil. This public notice offer 1,068 blocks in 17 Brazilian sedimentary basins: a total of 462.5 thousand square kilometers, with 522 blocks in onshore basins and 546 blocks offshore.


There remain 1,005 blocks that may receive offers from the current 79 companies approved by the National Agency Special Bidding Commission (CEL) to declare interest in one or more blocks and areas offered in the public notice. This bidding modality allows companies to no longer wait for a ‘traditional’ bidding round to have the opportunity to bid for a block or area with marginal accumulation.


The Arayara International Institute declared that it will file a representation in the Federal Court contesting the lack of consultation with communities directly affected by oil exploration and production. Among those impacted are colonies of artisanal fishermen, quilombolas, indigenous communities and other traditional extractive people.


The Institute also recalls that, on the eve of the auction, IBAMA (The Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources linked to The Department for Environment) confirmed the annulment of the ordinance that defined the buffer zone of the Abrolhos National Park, one of the most important marine parks in South America. The liberation of the area complied with a court order. In practice, the surroundings of Abrolhos became more vulnerable.

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