Thousands protest Argentina oil exploration project

Mar del Plata (Argentina) (AFP) – Thousands marched Tuesday along the beaches of Argentina's Mar del Plata to protest an oil exploration project off the Atlantic coast.


Carrying placards reading, "Oil is death", "A sea without oil tankers" and "No to pollution", demonstrators marched to drums, while classical dancers performed.

The group oppose a recent decision by center-left President Alberto Fernandez's administration authorizing seismic exploration studies by the Norwegian oil company Equinor, the Argentinian public firm YPF and Anglo-Dutch company Shell.

The work will take place in offshore areas of the Argentine Sea around 300 kilometers (186 miles) from beaches that attract millions of tourists.

These explorations "kill marine animals," said demonstration organizer Julieta, who declined to give her last name.

"If there is an accident, the oil spill could reach neighboring Uruguay," she added.

Surfer and lifeguard Juan Manuel Ballestero told AFP that he was against the exploration due to "disastrous data on oil spills in Brazil and Mexico."

Rallies were also staged in other Argentinian coastal cities.

Argentina holds extensive shale oil and gas deposits -- including the world's second-largest shale gas formation -- which the government hopes could be a driver of economic growth as it struggles to rebound from the pandemic.