Brazil’s Petrobras Says It Lost 10 Years By Not Exploring Equatorial Margin


By Bruno de Freitas Moura 

Petrobras’ CEO Magda Chambriard criticized the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) for the delay in authorizing oil exploration in the Equatorial Margin, an area off the Brazilian coast identified as the new “pre-salt” due to its oil production potential.

“We’ve already lost ten years,” lamented Chambriard, referring to the bidding process for exploring the region that took place in 2013.

The Equatorial Margin extends from the coast of Rio Grande do Norte state to Amapá state. Potential oil exploration in this region, which includes the mouth of the Amazon River, has drawn criticism from environmentalists concerned about possible environmental damage.

Petrobras is authorized to drill off the coast of Rio Grande do Norte, but Ibama has rejected exploratory efforts in the northernmost part of the country.


On Wednesday (Jun. 12), Chambriard announced that Petrobras intends to convene a meeting with the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE), an advisory body to the country’s president for formulating energy policies and guidelines, to deliver a presentation on the company’s commitment to safety and “excellence” in oil production. This presentation will highlight Petrobras’ efforts to ensure environmental preservation and support for affected communities.

“We explore in the pre-salt, off the coast of Ipanema, Búzios, and Angra dos Reis, and all stakeholders, including society, mayors, and state and federal representatives, are pleased with the results. The revenue and development stemming from this exploration and production benefit everyone,” she said, referring to tourist destinations along the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Since the end of May, when she took over as Petrobras’ CEO, Magda Chambriard has defended oil exploration on the Equatorial Margin as an alternative to the future decline in oil production in pre-salt fields, a natural cycle in the oil industry. “It’s a question of national security,” she said.

The CEO of the state-owned company made these statements during the FII Priority Summit, an event sponsored by the government of Saudi Arabia. The summit brought together global personalities from the public and private sectors at the Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio de Janeiro.

During the meeting’s opening, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva also voiced his support for oil exploration in the Equatorial Margin.

“When we begin exploring the Equatorial Margin, I believe we will make an extraordinary leap in quality. We aim to do everything legally, respecting the environment and all regulations. However, we will not miss any opportunity to help this country grow,” noted the president.


Agência Brasil (ABr) is the national public news agency, run by the Brazilian government. It is a part of the public media corporation Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC), created in 2007 to unite two government media enterprises Radiobrás and TVE (Televisão Educativa).

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