Petrobras days away from requesting a rethink of denial to drill Brazilian well

Brazilian state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras is planning to file a request with the Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA), asking it to reconsider the decision to deny the environmental license to drill an exploratory well in a block offshore Brazil.


Back in April 2021, Petrobras inked agreements with BP to take over the oil major’s entire stakes in Block FZA-M-059 and five others, which are located in the ultra-deepwater in northern Brazil. After hearing the rumours about the rejection of the environmental licensing process a few days ago, the Brazilian player revealed plans to move to another location a rig and other resources that were brought in preparation for drilling activities on the block.

In an update on Wednesday, 24 May 2023, Petrobras confirmed it would file a request with Ibama later in the week, as it had met the requirements set forth in the reference legislation for the bidding process for Block FZA-M-059 in Amapá. In addition, the firm explained that it had complied with all the technical requirements demanded by Ibama for the project. The company claims to be ready to meet any additional demands that may remain.

Block FZA-M-59, which is the object of the sedimentary area environmental assessment, was acquired in the 11th ANP Bidding Round held in May 2013. At the time, the granting process for the blocks offered was subsidised by the opinions of the GT PEG – Working Group that included Ibama, ICMBIO and MMA. As these players considered that the FZA-M-59 block was suitable to be offered and licensed, Petrobras underscores that this led to the conclusion that the challenges signalled were all “technically surmountable.”

From the concession through a bidding process, the Brazilian giant has a commitment signed with the ANP to drill eight exploratory wells in the Amapá deepwater region in the Foz do Amazonas sedimentary basin.

“Refusal on the grounds of environmental unfeasibility may result in litigation and fines, in addition to compromising the assessment of the region’s potential, as well as energy security and the country’s own fair and safe energy transition,” highlighted Petrobras.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian player is making efforts to obtain the drilling license in the Potiguar Basin, as planned in its Strategic Plan 2023-27, as well as the execution of exploration projects planned in Brazil and abroad.

The company’s exploration efforts are bearing fruit as a hydrocarbon discovery was recently made in an exploratory well in the Aram block in the Santos Basin off Brazil.