Greenpeace disrupts Total’s AGM protesting against Brazil drilling plan

Greenpeace activists disrupted oil company Total’s annual general meeting in Paris on Friday, protesting against Total’s plans to drill near the Amazon Reef offshore Brazil.

©Greenpeace ANV COP-21 Greenpeace climbers disrupted Total's AGM by sitting in front of the giant screen in the conference room
©Greenpeace ANV COP-21
Greenpeace climbers disrupted Total’s AGM by sitting in front of the giant screen in the conference room

Several Greenpeace climbers deployed banners from the ceiling inside the AGM, saving “Save the Amazon Reef.”

According to Greenpeace, Total’s proposed drilling project near the Amazon Reef would risk “irreparable damage” to the reef.

Greenpeace said: “In the event of a leak or oil spill, not only the reef is threatened but also the French Guiana coast and the mangroves, where dozens of communities depend on the resources provided by this environment to live.”

It has been reported that Brazil’s environment agency IBAMA this week rejected Total’s environment impact plan for the Foz do Amazonas Basin project, giving it a new deadline to address the identified “gaps and inconsistencies.”

©Guenole The Gal /Greenpeace
Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné looking up at the Greenpeace campaigners hanging from the ceiling in the conference room

As previously reported, Greenpeace in April said its hat team of scientists onboard the Greenpeace Esperanza ship “have documented the existence of a rhodolith field where French company Total intends to drill for oil, 120km off the northern coast of Brazil.”

Rhodoliths are calcareous algae that work as a habitat for fish and other reef creatures. Its presence, Greenpeace said, confirms the Amazon Reef extends further than previously expected and might be 56,000 km2 large – almost six times larger than previous scientific estimates.

“The finding proves the existence of a reef formation in the area and invalidates Total’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which states the closest reef formation is 8 kilometers away from one of the oil blocks,” Greenpeace said at the time.

Total: No rhodolits in our block

Responding to Greenpeace’s claims, Total, which operates five blocks in the area, said in May: “Total confirms that no biogenic formation was identified in Block FZA-M-57. The planned exploration well in Block FZA-M-57 (ca1800m water depth) will be 28 km away from the rodholith beds previously identified and 34 km away from the location where the NGO would have found rhodoliths more recently.”

According to Total, Greenpeace’s vessel went to the border limits of block FZA-M-86 where it said it found rhodolith beds within the area that it surveyed at a water depth of around 180m.

“Total reaffirms that it operates in stringent compliance with the applicable legislation and applies E&P industry best practices in safety, well design, drilling, and environmental protection,” the French oil major said.

Offshore Energy Today Staff