Brazil’s next oil lease auction threatens hundreds of marine species

Brazil's National Oil Agency is set to sell off 92 oil fields in October, but many are located close to environmental reserves

oil spill brazil environmental risks
Volunteers clean up beach in Salvador following an oil spill in October 2019. Photo: Joa Souza/Shutterstock

After a coronavirus-related postponement, Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) resumed proceedings for the 17th round of bidding for oil and gas leases in the country, scheduled to take place on October 7.

For several municipalities and states, the bidding process represents hope of a brighter financial future. When the oil fields are sold off, local governments will receive royalties for the minerals extracted therein — and many of these “oil and gas cities” find themselves in situations of extreme fiscal difficulty, with eye-watering debts blocking spending and putting public servants’ salaries at risk.