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Accepted Paper:

Oil in Bahia – from early Cretaceous to the Anthropocene  
Natascha Otoya (Georgetown University)

Paper short abstract:

The Bay of All Saints was formed during the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean, in perfect geological conditions to form oil over 145 million years. Today, its inner beaches are lined with massive petrochemical infrastructure of fields, refineries, ports, pipelines, storage tanks and spheres.

Paper long abstract:

This work looks at different aspects of the first oil fields in Brazil, located around the Bay of All Saints. The search for oil entails many layers of history, coming together through human action. The first layer is the geology and its massive timescales, going back millions of years. On top, lies the ecology of the region. In a different timescale, the ecology of the bay went from Atlantic Forest, to sugar plantations, to petroscapes that dominate the region today. The third layer are humans themselves. Living on top of these layers, humans went looking for oil around the Bay of All Saints. Humans finding oil were essential in this story - but we were not alone. Accompanying humans were pathogens that infected people in and around the fields. They form the fourth layer. The fifth is the material layer. Having struck oil in 1939, Brazil was on the cusp of the Great Acceleration. This is by no background to this story. The search for fossil fuels was driven by global movements of capitalism and industrialization. Framing it in the context of the Anthropocene, takes it to a planetary scale. The Bay of All Saints was formed during the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean, in perfect geological conditions to form and accumulate oil over 145 million years. Today, its inner beaches are lined with massive petrochemical infrastructure of fields, refineries, ports, pipelines, storage tanks and spheres. This is a short narrative of that long and layered story.

Panel Ene07
The Petroleum Century and the Transformation of Global Landscapes
  Session 2 Thursday 22 August, 2024, -