Only five of the 92 areas offered for extraction of oil and natural gas in the 17th Auction Round of exploratory blocks by the National Oil Agency (ANP) were sold, all in the Santos Basin, off the coast of São Paulo. Despite the failure, the general director of the ANP, Rodolfo Saboia, called the auction “a success”.
The 17th round of the ANP has been the target of intense protests by scientists, environmentalists and state governments, as 14 of the areas offered are close to the vital marine sanctuaries for Brazil’s reef ecosystem, such were the cases of Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco state, and Atol das Rocas, Rio Grande do Norte. The Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) considered, via a technical note, “reckless” to include the Potiguar Basin (RN) region in the auction.
The environmental threat was identified as one of the reasons for the low interest from bidders. “The best definition of this auction is high risk: discovery risk, logistical risk, environmental risk” stated Magda Chambriard, former director general of the ANP, to the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.Sources
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