LatinNews Daily - 29 September 2020

In brief: Total pulls out of controversial exploration project in Brazil

* French oil company Total has announced that, on 25 September, it reached an agreement with Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras to transfer its participation in five exploration blocks in the Foz do Amazonas basin, 120km off the coast of northern Brazil. Total had earlier in September announced that it was relinquishing its role as “operator” of the five exploration blocks, in which it has a partnership with Petrobras and British company BP, before yesterday (28 September) saying it was pulling out of the project completely. The Foz do Amazonas exploration project has long been criticised by environmentalists, due to its proximity to the Amazon Reef. Total had seen its request for exploration licenses denied on environmental grounds in late 2018, and had been criticised by environmental groups for relaunching the process of acquiring the necessary licenses for exploration under the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which has been notoriously lax on enforcement of environmental norms. The transfer of Total’s participation to Petrobras must now be approved by the relevant regulatory bodies.

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