PARIS (Reuters) – Greenpeace activists disrupted Total’s annual shareholders meeting in Paris on Friday in protest against the French oil major’s quest to drill in the ecologically sensitive Amazon basin and French Guyana.
Four activists descended by rope down from the ceiling above the stage as Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne began his presentation to investors and at least another dozen managed to enter the hall, with some chaining themselves to fixtures in the hall.
Suspended from ropes, they chanted: “Drilling in the Amazon is not responsible”.
Total wants to explore Brazil’s Foz do Amazonas basin, which geologists estimate could contain up to 14 billion barrels of oil, or more than the entire proven reserves in the Gulf of Mexico.
Brazil’s environmental agency rejected the company’s bid for an environmental license for the fourth time on Tuesday, requesting more information.
A Greenpeace expedition in April documented coral in the area where Total plans to drill, after an earlier discovery of a massive coral reef nearby.
As Pouyanne tried to restart the AGM 30 minutes after the disruption began he was thwarted by whistles and chants from the activists.
Greenpeace also opposes Total’s investment in offshore oil production blocks in French Guyana, which will boost its presence in the potentially lucrative Guyana basin.
Total faces more protests this month, after France’s largest farmers’ union called for a blockade of French oil refineries in protest at the company’s decision to use imported palm oil at a new biofuel production site.
(Reporting by Bate Felix; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by David Evans and Susan Fenton)