BRASILIA, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Brazil will likely eventually explore the equatorial margin for oil, but state-owned Petrobras (PETR4.SA) is expected to take a “cautious” approach given the need to take precautions to protect the environment, said Finance Minister Fernando Haddad. said Sunday.
The equatorial margin includes approximately 2,200 kilometers (1,370 miles) of deep-water and ultra-deep-water assets along the northern and northeastern coast of Brazil.
“We may need oil from the equatorial margin provided that Petrobras takes environmental precautions and Petrobras is very willing to consider that,” Haddad said in a television interview.
“This is a sanctuary of biodiversity, it must be taken care of, it has spectacular resources,” he said.
Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama previously denied Petrobras permission to conduct exploratory studies in the region. He said a study presented by the oil company and prepared under the last government was incomplete and did not address several environmental protection issues.
Petrobras has appealed, but Ibama has not yet responded.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also said in a recent interview that the area could be explored.
“Brazil will not stop searching for the equatorial margin. If it finds the riches it believes exists there, it is up to the State to decide whether to exploit them or not,” he declared during a a trip to India.
Haddad also noted that Petrobras recently announced investments of 100 billion reais ($20.5 billion) in wind energy.
($1 = 4.8679 reais)
Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Written by Steven Grattan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs
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