Brazil to Auction Oilfields

Brazil to Auction OilfieldsBrazil to Auction Oilfields

The administration of President Jair Bolsonaro plans to auction seven offshore oil fields in the northeast despite contrary advice from analysts of Brazil's main environmental body, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
Environmentalists say it's the latest example of how Bolsonaro, who campaigned on promises to revive Latin America's largest economy by cutting red tape, is pushing aside warnings and scientific evidence in the name of progress, AP reported. 
It comes at a time when Brazil, one of the world's oil producers and energy consumers, is moving toward the privatization of several industries, including offshore exploration.
"There is no need to explore these areas," said Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of environmental group Climate Observatory. 
"This decision is in line with a government that sees the environment as an obstacle."
Brazil's environment institute, called IBAMA, enforces legislation and aims to promote the sustainable the use of natural resources. 
IBAMA analysts recommended against the exploration of oil in seven out of 42 offshore fields originally offered for auction in March by regulating body Brazilian Petroleum Agency.
Three of the fields to be auctioned in October are in the Jacuipe Basin and four in the Camamu-Almada region, both in the waters off the coast of the northeastern state of Bahia.
Appointed by Bolsonaro, the new head of the institute, Eduardo Bim, rejected its analysis, which warned that exploration of "highly sensitivity areas" could lead to spills.
The study, dated March 18, also said spills could lead to the destruction of the Abrolhos islands, an area of 913 square kilometers. Four of Abrolhos' five islands are home to a marine national park with rare coral formations, tropical fish, whales, seabirds, turtles and dolphins.
The dispute within IBAMA was first published by daily O Estado de S. Paulo. The documents were obtained and verified by the AP.


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