Ibama Clears El Paso Plan for Camamu-Almada Block

Brazil's federal environmental protection agency Ibama has cleared US energy company El Paso (NYSE: EP) to start new exploratory drilling in the BM-CAL-4 offshore block in the Camamu-Almada basin, Ibama said in a statement.

Ibama has cleared the environmental impact study (EIS) for drilling in the block.

El Paso will have to comply with nine requests from Ibama including the start of environmental protection programs, emergency planning and allowing Ibama to inspect ships before the start of drilling.

El Paso is expanding exploration in the Pinauna field block, BM-CAL-4, where the company already has a development program in place, a company spokesperson told BNamericas.

In 2006, Ibama asked El Paso to provide complementary studies for the development project.

The company has announced plans to invest US$90 million in BM-CAL-4.

The field in Bahia state's Camamu-Almada basin is some 12km from shore in shallow waters and has reserves of 33-35 million barrels of paraffin oil, the company said.

The company had planned to start production at Pinauna at the end of 2007.

El Paso was awarded BM-CAL-4 in 2000.

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