Brazilian authorities have denied state-owned oil company Petrobras an environmental license to carry out exploratory drilling at the mouth of the Amazon River.
The Petrobras project has “worrying inconsistencies for safe operation” in an area of high socio-environmental vulnerability, the government’s environmental agency Ibama said in its report on Wednesday rejecting the license.
The drilling area proposed by Petrobras is 180 kilometers (110 miles) off the coast of Amapa state, bordering French Guiana.
Last month, Ibama reported “deficiencies” in the project’s impact assessment, including the protection of fauna in case of accidents, or in the communication plan with local Indigenous villages.
There would be a “probable loss of impacted biodiversity in case of accidents involving oil spills,” according to the documents.
In 2018, Ibama denied a license to French oil company Total for drilling activities in the region on similar grounds.
Environmental groups have long opposed crude oil exploration projects in the area where the Amazon meets the Atlantic Ocean, warning that it could pose risks to a freshwater barrier reef discovered there in 2016.
The environmental group Observatorio do Clima welcomed the decision on the Petrobas license.
Ibama “is protecting a virtually unknown ecosystem,” it said in a statement.