Paris, France  — Oil giant Total’s annual general meeting (AGM) was disrupted today when more than 250 activists from Greenpeace and ANV-COP21 interrupted the company’s meeting to peacefully protest Total’s plans to drill near the Amazon Reef off the coast of Brazil. The activists hail from 10 different countries and are backed by over two million signatories to a global petition to stop dangerous oil drilling in the area. Several climbers deployed banners from the ceiling inside the AGM, saving “Save the Amazon Reef” in several languages while outside the building peaceful activists and musicians played Afro-influenced Brazilian Batucada percussion.

François Chartier, Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace France, said:

“More than two million people, the scientific community and the Brazilian administration have already expressed their opposition to Total’s drilling project in the mouth of the Amazon. Despite these calls, Total refuses to listen to reason and continues its attempts to drill near this unique reef, risking irreparable damage to it. In front of its own shareholders Total calls itself the ‘responsible energy major’, but what is responsible about drilling at nearly 2,000 meters deep, in extreme conditions, near a network of undiscovered reefs?”

“Total opening a new oil explorations in a new oil frontier is nonsense in the current climate context, when global emissions of greenhouse gases need to be drastically reduced. Peaceful protests like this are essential to denounce the inaction of multinationals such as Total in the face of this climate emergency. We can no longer allow such activities that risk destroying life on Earth to continue with impunity,” added Pauline Boyer, spokesperson for ANV-COP21.

This mobilization was organised as part of the international campaign to defend the Amazon Reef. This exceptionally rich reef located off the mouth of the Amazon in northern Brazil is threatened by Total’s oil projects. In the event of a leak or oil spill, not only the reef is threatened but also the French Guiana coast and the mangroves, where dozens of communities depend on the resources provided by this environment to live.

In August 2017, Total’s application to drill was rejected by the Brazilian environmental agency, IBAMA. Total then proposed a new version in late January. Following the latest discoveries by Greenpeace that proved the presence of the reef in one of Total’s blocks, Amapa’s state prosecutor has officially asked the Brazilian environmental agency to definitively reject Total’s project. Just the day before yesterday, for the fourth time, IBAMA strongly questioned the quality of Total’s environmental impact study and granted a new deadline to clarify important issues in the study. [1].

This event is part of the global Break Free movement, which calls on large groups of people to take peaceful action to break free from fossil fuels and hasten the decline of the oil age. This year the worldwide movement began in India with a protest on the air pollution of the country, caused by old and new coal power plants, and now the movement is calling for oil companies like Total to abandon their harmful oil exploration projects for climate and biodiversity, as is the case in the Amazon Reef.

Greenpeace and ANV-COP21 demand that Total withdraw from their plans to drill in the Amazon Reef area.


Photos and videos:


Angélina Pineau, Communications Officer, Greenpeace France, 00 33 6 42 64 83 76, [email protected]

Pauline Boyer, Spokesperson, ANV-COP21, 00 33 6 43 83 05 09, [email protected]

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours),