Petrobras sending rig hired for drilling ops at Brazilian block elsewhere following IBAMA’s rejection

Brazilian state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras is planning on setting the wheels into motion to move to another location a rig and other resources that were brought in preparation for drilling activities on a block offshore Brazil, after receiving news about the rejection of the environmental licensing process.


As Petrobras heard the rumours but did not get an official notification from Brazil’s Institute for the Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA) about the rejection of the environmental licensing process for Block FZA-M-59 in Amapá Águas Profundas, it intends to formulate a request for reconsideration at the administrative level once it received this notification. The company inked agreements with BP in April 2021 to take over the oil major’s entire stakes in this block and five others, which are located in the ultra-deepwater in northern Brazil.

The Brazilian giant underscores that it has “strictly followed” all the requirements of the licensing process and all the resources mobilised in Amapá and Pará for the pre-operational assessment – simulated to test the emergency response plans – were done in accordance with IBAMA’s decisions and approvals. Since the development of this block is a commitment made by Petrobras to the ANP, a contractual fine will be incurred if it is not carried out.

The well, which is the object of this licensing process is located 175 kilometres off the coast of Amapá and more than 500 kilometres away from the mouth of the Amazon River. Due to IBAMA’s alleged rejection, the company will direct the rig and other resources mobilised in the region of Block FZA-M-59 to its activities in the Southeastern Basins in the next few days.

According to Petrobras, it remains committed to the development of the Brazilian Equatorial Margin, as it recognises the importance of new frontiers to ensure the country’s energy security and the resources needed for “a fair and sustainable energy transition.”

With this in mind, the Brazilian player will have to look for new sources in addition to the pre-salt to supply the country’s future demand for oil. To this end, the firm 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.

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