In today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern, Mexico to Consider Free-Trade Agreement With Brazil, and why that is good news.
Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling
Too bad it’s not in U.S. waters.
You read that headline correctly. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is financing oil exploration off Brazil.
The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil’s Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a “preliminary commitment” letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas.
But look on the bright side. If President Obama has embraced offshore drilling in Brazil, why not in the old U.S.A.? The land of the sorta free and the home of the heavily indebted has enormous offshore oil deposits, and last year ahead of the November elections, with gasoline at $4 a gallon, Congress let a ban on offshore drilling expire.
Lula and his squabbling friends, and The Economist op-ed, Whose side is Brazil on? Time for Lula to stand up for democracy rather than embrace autocrats
The NYT is worrying about Brazilian nationalism, Brazil Seeks More Control of Oil Beneath Its Seas
Mr. da Silva’s plans for more control of the new fields will face a stiff battle in Brazil’s Congress, where opposition leaders say they will push to delay the plan, to deny him a victory that could be a political boost to Dilma Rousseff, his chief of staff and chosen candidate to succeed him in next year’s election.
Ms. Rousseff, who is in charge of the government’s pre-salt proposal, is also the chairwoman of the Petrobras board of directors. The company is 55.7 percent government-owned; other members of the board are also political appointees.
“The government is going to use every ideological, nationalist and emotional argument to try to get this approved before next year’s election, but it is going to be very difficult for it to pass,” said Tasso Jereissati, a senator from the Brazilian Social Democratic Party who is critical of the government’s proposal.
Brazil’s Senate is already coping with a broad investigation into irregularities and improprieties at Petrobras, an inquiry brought by Mr. da Silva’s political opposition.
(Thanks to Larwyn for the link)
Here’s a proposal: Let American companies do what Obama is paying Brazilian companies to do — drill offshore. We won’t have to pay them money or float them any loans to do it, either. In fact, we will make money off of the leases, while the effort creates hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs in the US, creating more tax revenue rather than emptying out the Treasury.
Sounds good to me!