Brazil to search for oil in the Amazon
October 21, 2007
The National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, plans to put US$36 million toward oil and gas exploration in Acre, a state bordering Bolivia, according to Brazilian state media Agencia Brasil, but environmental officials say no impact study has been done to assess how the plan could affect the Amazon.
"It's necessary to examine how this will be done, on what scale and in what areas," Joao Paulo Capobianco, the Environment Ministry's executive secretary, was quoted as saying. "In theory, there are methodologies and technologies that allow this activity without environmental damage."
"Development brings damage," Acre congressman Marcelo Serafim told the AP. "It destroyed the Atlantic forest, it ruined much of the Pantanal (wetlands), and that's not what we want or defend."
Oil and gas deposits are found nearby in Bolivia as well as in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon. Extraction has proven controversial, with a multi-billion lawsuit pending against Chevron-subsidiary Texaco for its role in environmental damage in Ecuador. Nevertheless, with oil prices nearing $90 and new technologies, oil exploration in remote parts of the Amazon is increasingly attractive.
The exploration concerns are similar to those raised over hyroelectric projects in other parts of the Amazon. A project on the Madeira River, expected to cost $10-15 billion, won preliminary approval in July, despite opposition from envionmentalists and scientists.
Ecuador looks for payments to leave oil in the ground
Marketwatch reported more details on Ecuador's proposal to forgo development of Amazonian oil fields in exchange for payments from industrialized nations. Last month Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that if the South American country is compensated with half of the forecasted lost revenues, it will not exploit oil in Yasuni National Park, setting aside the area for wildlife and indigenous people. Correa said the cost would be about $350 million per year for 30 years. Ecuador would earn about $700 million per year if the fields were developed.
Oil firm abandons road project for Amazon rainforest park in Ecuador
The Brazilian national oil company Petrobras abandoned plans to build an access road into Yasuni National Park, in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The decision follows years of intense pressure from environmental groups and recent criticism by the Ecuadorian government. Instead the company will use helicopter transportation inside the park, according to a statement from Petrobras.