OPINION: Petrobras won an arm wrestling contest to secure a long-awaited environmental licence to conduct an exploration campaign in Brazil’s northern equatorial margin, although it was not quite the permit the state-controlled company was desperately looking for.

Federal regulator Ibama granted Petrobras the drilling licence to spud two wells in the offshore section of Potiguar, one of five sedimentary basins that form the environmentally sensitive northern equatorial margin.