Underwater, Undereported: Energy in Brazil

By December 12, 2007Energy

The political satire magazine, “Time,” has an online feature, the “Top 10 Underreported Stories,” which, as National Review’s Greg Pollowitz points out, is an admission of journalistic failure on Time’s part. Editors: “It was on our list of things to do, but, well, just got away from us.”

This one was interesting, nonetheless:

#8. Brazil’s Big Oil Find

In November, Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobas announced the largest oil discovery worldwide since 2000. Though the country is already a self-sufficient oil producer, the new Tupi field — located off the eastern coast of South America, beneath a crust of salt a mile thick in some places—could turn Brazil into a major exporter to rival Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Brazil wasted no time in protecting the area that is expected to produce as much as 8 billion barrels of light crude oil. The day after the Petrobas announcement, the government withdrew 41 exploration blocks in the Tupi region from an auction for private companies.

Two points: We often hear about how Brazil has achieved energy independence thanks to ethanol and flex-fuel vehicles.(This USA Today story, for example.) The truth of the matter is that Brazil has accomplished energy equilibrium (as The Washington Post more accurately describes it) in great part because of its development of offshore energy resources. And the new find is a harbinger of even greater economic and energy stability for the Brazilians.

Unless — and here’s the other point — Brazilians decides to forego this new source of wealth and power because of their sensitivity to the environment and global warming. Which they certainly will do, right?

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Osvaldo Coelho says:

    Unless Brazil discovers abundant oil and then oil becomes bad for the environment after 100 of using it. Yeah, right. We are going to fall for that. Look at! Sugar Loaf’s area is about five times largest than that of Tupi A geological formation beneath a 2-mile layer of salt in Brazil’s Santos offshore basin, is larger than Tupi and, if oil bearing, may contain “significantly more” oil than Tupi, Gustavo Gattass, an analyst with UBS Pactual in Rio de Janeiro, said in a note to clients

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