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Cayenne, French Guiana

The amazon’s coral reef and marine ecosystems of the central Guyanese waters are threatened by oil exploration. Now is the time to act, cancel and forbid such exploration.

Surfrider Foundation Europe and five other environmental associations (listed below) are forming the first legal case to withdraw the authorization given to Total for its exploratory oil drilling in Guyane.


On the 23rd of October, the French oil company Total successfully obtained an extension of its permit “maritime French Guiana”, initially granted in 2001, that authorized the drilling of oil. The permit had already been extended in 2007 and 2011, which allowed total to conduct exploratory oil drilling in the southeastern part of Guyanese waters, on the 23rd of October. This new extension allows Total to start oil exploration in the central part of the Guyanese waters, starting in early January 2019 and it must end before June 2019.


We are acting alongside five other associations: “Greenpeace France”, “Sea Shepherd France”, “Friends of the Earth France”, “French Guiana Nature Environnement”, “Nature Rights” and ZEA. The collective “Stop Oil Offshore Guyana” and the Young Guyanese also joined our fight.


This third extension of the permit, granted for “exceptional circumstances”, has been obtained despite more than 7000 unfavorable opinions issued during the public inquiry. It represents a direct threat to the Amazon’s coral reef, located in this area. This ecosystem is very fragile and composes of corals, sponges, and algae. The fragility and the importance of this ecosystem, located off a river mouth near French Guiana and the north of Brazil on an estimated 56 000 km2, was made public by scientists in 2016.

Together, we are filing a complaint against the irregularities and the grey areas that allowed Total to obtain this extension. We lodged an appeal with the administrative court of Cergy against the State of the project in marine Guyane, on the basis of the “denial of the right to public participation”, “the lack of expertise and the incomprehension of the file of the commissioner-investigators charged with issue of a reasoned opinion on Total’s environmental impact study “and the” shortcomings of oil spill modeling and underestimation of risks for neighboring countries and territories “.


Our goal is to obtain the cancellation of this authorization granted to Total and to protect the fragile ecosystems of the central Guyanese waters.