Argentina: Studying whales is prohibited to guarantee oil exploration

prohíben estudio de ballenas para resguardar daos de exploración petrolera

Inspenet, December 6, 2023.

The Argentine Navy has argued that Greenpeace ‘s scientific expedition could cause interference with oil exploration and hydrocarbon exploitation operations in the area. In response, the Argentine government has banned a Greenpeace scientific investigation into whales in the sea of ​​the South American country, based on possible disturbances with the seismic prospecting activities carried out by the Norwegian company Equinor in the search for gas and oil in deep waters. .

According to the Federal Fisheries Council, there are fears that the Greenpeace sailboat Witness generates “ambient noise” that could affect the seismic data collected by Equinor.

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The expedition, originally scheduled from December 2 to 20, aimed to evaluate the impact of seismic prospecting on southern right whales, considered part of Argentina’s Natural Heritage. Although the Witness sailboat operates with sails to minimize its environmental impact, the Federal Fisheries Council justified its ban by arguing the possible interference with Equinor’s BGP Prospector vessel.

The National Directorate of Hydrocarbon Production and Exploration has expressed its advice against granting the permit, highlighting the importance of information related to hydrocarbon resources .

Both the Argentine Navy and Inidep have expressed their concerns, with the latter stating that state scientists should participate in the survey carried out by preservation organizations, although they have responded that they do not have personnel available for this task.

Oil exploration vs. Marine life

It is important to mention that the government’s decision to deny the permit has generated criticism and environmental concerns, since seismic prospecting can have significant impacts on marine life. Greenpeace has denounced the risk of an “acoustic bombardment” that could affect various marine species, from whales to squid.

This incident highlights existing tensions between environmental protection and the oil industry in Argentina, raising concerns about the priority given to marine conservation compared to oil interests.

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