Brazil minister says oil and green ambitions are not contradictory

There is “no contradiction” between Brazil’s plans to step up oil and gas exploration, including in waters off the Amazon rainforest, and its aspiration to lead the world’s transition to green energy, the energy minister said.

“I don’t see any contradiction between the exploration of oil and gas and the clear, objective, safe and firm decision . . . to carry out the energy transition in a just and inclusive way,” said Silveira, a centrist politician and former businessman who was in New York during UN climate week to discuss Brazil’s green energy plans. “The reality of the world is that we still need fossil fuels.”

A request by state-controlled oil company Petrobras to conduct exploratory drilling in the Equatorial Margin offshore zone, which stretches across the coastline of six impoverished Amazonian states, was rejected by Brazil’s environmental regulator this year. Petrobras has appealed against the decision.

“It’s the right of the Brazilian people to understand their mineral wealth, whether on or offshore,” Silveira said in an interview when asked about proposed drilling in the Foz de Amazonas basin, an area 175km from the northern coast which forms part of the Equatorial Margin. He said part of Brazil’s oil revenue is sent to a “social fund which finances health, education and the energy transition”.