*Update 3/19/11 4:19pm. Brasilian oil giant Petrobras awarded deep-water drill permit in US Gulf off the coast of Louisiana while many other rigs sit idle or US companies await permits. This one really chaps my behind.
President Obama is in Brasilia as this article is written paying a visit to President Dilma Rousseff. With much pomp and circumstance he arrived in a motorcade of 51 vehicles.
There has been much speculation for the reasons of the trip. He has with him Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu to name just a few.
Yes, we hear about the trade issues, hence Locke being with him. From an article back in February Geithner is tagging along because Brasil is in the market for a new fleet of F-18s for her air force, and Boeing is in the running. But the person who immediately caught my eye was Steven Chu so I did some digging.
All of us are aware of the Gulf drill moratorium after the BP spill, the lack or new oil, gas and oil permits being issued and the myriad of new EPA regulations which caused Shell to become fed up and give up drilling for oil in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea. We are all aware of the thousands of people out of jobs in the energy area and the oil and gas companies who have declared bankruptcy, been sold to larger companies or simply pulled up stakes and went to a friendlier regulatory atmosphere. Not in the US.
There is nothing on the White House blog that tells us the reason for the visit, so I decided the best source was the people on the ground in Brasil, namely the newspapers and blogs. The following caught my eye bigtime:
In a time when record oil prices and record-producing nations in the Middle East and North Africa are in crisis, U.S. President, Barack Obama, arrives in Brazil on Saturday with an eye on Brazil’s potential to become a major supplier to the United States in the future.
Obama himself also announced last week that oil imports will be one of the themes of his agenda with President Rousseff in Brasilia. The U.S. government seeks to reduce its dependence on oil, but also diversify its portfolio of suppliers.
“Brazil will become a major player in global energy markets with its recent oil discoveries in deep water,” said deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs from the White House, Mike Froman. In addition to ministers of the energy sector, Obama also travels with dozens of entrepreneurs.
According to the executive director of the Brazil Business Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce American Steven beepers, after passing Brasilia, these entrepreneurs will go to Rio to consider the prospect of investment in the oil and gas. “Given the current circumstances facing the Arab countries, Brazil is a candidate very important supplier of U.S. oil in the medium term,” he said on a visit to Washington the president of the American Chamber of Commerce for Brazil, Gabriel Rico.
Hmmm…we have billions of barrels of oil in the US, trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, and millions of tons of coal, yet Obama may be seeking to buy oil from Brasil? President Obama, if you would just allow us to get ours out of the ground, the US could become energy independent. The experts tell us so.
But wait! There’s more. Back in August of 2009 Obama “loaned” Brasilian oil giant Petrobras $2 billion dollars. Why? That is the $64,000 question. They don’t need it. Brasil is oil independent thanks to Petrobras, who has the third largest deep-water rig in the world, #52. Petrobras is the largest company by revenue and market capitalization in Latin America. It’s a world leader in drilling technology, has assets in countries all over the world and in 2008 its reported assets were $133.5 billion.
But here’s another little interesting tidbit. Several days before Obama made the announcement of the “loan” George Soros dumped 22 million shares of US listed Petrobras common stock and bought 5.8 million of the 10% dividend-paying preferred. Hmmm..
And one more little fact for you all, back in December of 2010 Obama’s cozy pal Jeff Immelt of GE bought UK company Wellstream for $1.3 billion.
Wellstream expands GE’s operations in Brazil, where Exxon Mobil Corp., BG Group Plc and state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA may need to spend more on the U.K.-based company’s flexible pipes and risers to ramp up energy production. The deepwater Tupi and Libra fields, discovered in the past three years, together may contain more than 20 billion barrels of oil.
Nicholas Heymann, an analyst with Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. in New York had this to say about the purchase:
“Importantly, Wellstream has little Gulf of Mexico exposure, a region where development has slowed sharply.”
Yes, Mr. President. Development has slowed sharply in the Gulf, thanks to your drill moratorium. And oh, by the way, when is Interior Secretary Salazar going to be hauled off to jail in handcuffs for being in civil contempt of court for refusing to obey a Louisiana judge’s order to lift said moratorium?
Not drawing any conclusions from all the above, just throwing it out for thought.
Obama will travel to Rio later today where he’ll be staying at the ultra-luxurious J.W. Marriott Hotel in Copacabana ( he was originally scheduled to be at the Sheraton Rio, but security changed his location at the last minute.)
Wanna see pics of you dancing the samba, sir.
I’ll keep you posted on what develops.