The activists forced the event to be temporarily suspended and Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said the police removed them.
He said Total had not abandoned plans for River Amazon drilling after Brazil’s environmental agency rejected a fourth licence application.
Pouyanne said had just begun speaking when the protest started.
“Our position on the Amazon project has not been abandoned. We have our rights and we have obviously to respect Brazilian laws,” he said.
“It is also clear that Brazil’s environmental regulators are under immense pressure from other organisations. We are exchanging information with them.”
Greenpeace said more than 250 of its activists and ANV-COP21 protesters were opposing plans to drill near the Amazon reef off the Brazilian coast. The activists came from 10 different countries and there were more than 2 million signatories to stop dangerous oil drilling. Climbers displayed banners from the ceiling saying “Save the Amazon Reef” and musicians played Brazilian Batucada percussion.
François Chartier, oceans chief at Greenpeace, said: “More than 2 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 metres deep, in extreme conditions, near a network of undiscovered reefs?”
Greenpeace said the project endangered the rich reef in the Amazon in northern Brazil and the French Guyana coastal mangroves, on which numerous communities depend.
Pauline Boyer, a spokeswoman for ANV-COP21, said: “Total opening 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,” she added.
The Amazon reef is regarded as particularly vulnerable to oil spills. Picture credit: PXHere