Greenpeace has launched a new campaign targeting exploration operations in Brazil with that stated intention of protecting the newly discovered Amazon coral reef, which was discovered in April last year.
The environmental activist group charged that the reef, which could be a new marine biome comprising about 9500km2 of formations, primarily giant sponges and rhodolith, would be threatened by oil exploration.
Total and BP, which was also in the activist crosshairs before it abandoned its planned $1 billion exploration in the Great Australian Bight, have flagged the mouth of the Amazon River for exploratory drilling. Total owns one block which is located just eight kilometres from the reef with licensing processes already in progress.
In 2013 Total was granted licences to carry out exploration drilling in five blocks, the FZA-M-57, FZA-M-86, FZA-M-88, FZA-M-125 and FZA-M-127, located in the Foz do Amazonas basin off Brazil.
In January this year Total announced it would begin operations in the basin on mobilization of the first pieces of equipment to be used for exploration drilling. Total has until 2020 to drill the first wells in the area, but plans to do so this year.
But not if Greenpeace has its way as it plans to launch an expedition with its ship, Esperanza, to explore the reef and campaign for the oil companies to abandon exploration programs in the region.