BP’s response plan for dealing with oil spills near the Amazon Reef appears to be currently unworkable, although the plan is a key component of being allowed to drill for oil in August 2018 near the Amazon Reef in the Amazon Mouth Basin, Brazil, claims Greenpeace. The coming weeks will see whether Brazilian environmental agency IBAMA decides to license French oil company, Total, and BP’s exploration projects or not.
BP’s company’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) states that they intend to disperse potential spills with Corexit 9500, a chemical dispersal agent. However, this plan is unworkable as it is highly damaging to coral, as previously seen in the Gulf of Mexico after it was used to disperse crude oil in the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010, states Greenpeace. Researchers at Mote Marine Laboratory found that the chances of coral death increased according to the concentration of the chemical the coral was exposed to, with even small percentages leading to lowered survival rates. IBAMA has already informed Total that they are not allowed to use it in the area.
Additionally, BP plans to use remote operated vehicles (ROV) to cap a blowout, as per the National Geographic’s 2010 coverage of events of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. However, a technical paper led by engineer David Frantantoni, prepared for the Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2014, questions whether ROVs or other vehicles could operate in the intense currents found in the Amazon Mouth Basin, and so could be of use in cleaning up an oil spill, stating, “opportunities exist to apply recent technological innovations such as high-endurance autonomous underwater and surface vehicles. However, the ability to effectively operate robotic vehicles in a western boundary current regime such as the NBC has yet to be demonstrated.”