In Brazil, gas and oil exploration and production (E&P) is ruled by environmental laws that do not meet its characteristics of integrated and sequential development of its activities. Thus, every well drilling, for instance, must be licensed. On the other hand, there are mechanisms predicted in general and basic laws by which the industries may have easier ways to get environmental permits, taking into consideration the activity types. Unfortunately, this has not been observed by environmental control agencies, by this way becoming the issue ‘environmental permits in Brazil’ hard and ‘heavy’.

In 1998, E&P in State of Espírito Santo (called in this paper as Company), Brazil, got success in dealing with the state environmental agency (EA) about validity conditions of a future permit. The new permit, issued by the end of 1998, comprises Company's usual onshore E&P activities, and determines that they could be developed without individual (site) permits.

This paper shows, via case study, how the agreement was established and how the negotiations between Company and the government EA were carried out. This agreement ended in a global E&P permit that allows usual E&P activities be started regardless of government formal approval, provided EA be communicated 30 or 60 days before the beginning of the activity. After this lack of time, the activity can be developed. The activities are in general well drilling, seismic survey, oil and gas production and increasing of oil and gas pipeline capacities.

The main conclusion that comes from this paper is that an enterprise should use strict ethical principles when talking to an EA. This results in a relationship of confidence between the parts, and occasional difficulties that usually appear in this kind of process are more easily solved.

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