Brazilian environmental agency Ibama this week rejected French oil company Total SA’s application for an environmental license to drill in the ecologically sensitive Foz do Amazonas basin. It is the fourth time that Ibama has rejected the application and requested additional information.
Ibama said when denying the application for a third time in August that it would give Total one last chance to clarify the application before suspending the process.
This week however, it said it would seek more information as “new facts” had come to light.
An expedition last month by environmental activists Greenpeace documented coral in the area where Total plans to drill, following the earlier discovery of a massive coral reef nearby.
The agency’s refusals to accept Total’s environmental impact study has held up the company’s quest to explore the offshore basin for more than four years. The basin could contain up to 14 billion barrels of petroleum, or more than the entire proven reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, according to geologists.