Sunday, February 17, 2008

Halliburton, Brazil and lots of questions

A doctoral student at the LBJ School sent out an email to all LBJ students about the theft of computers containing confidential information about Brazil's recent enormous offshore oil discovery. The computers belonged to Halliburton, who was contracted by Petrobas (Brazil's national oil company) to do some additional testing of the Tupi oil and gas fields. The Brazilian government has hinted that the theft involved international intelligence agencies and a senior investigator has stated off the record that the stolen information pertains to services Petrobas could contract out.

Brazil is the superpower of South America and has been acting as a counterweight to Chavez in the region. If this investigation turns up any incriminating evidence against a U.S. company or otherwise, it could have severe implications for our relations with Brazil and the region. Outside of the Middle East, there is probably no region of the world that distrusts the U.S. more than Latin America. Brazil celebrated the oil discovery nationally and its citizens are expecting that the oil discovery will help power their growing economy. I really hope this had nothing to do with the actions of any American company, intelligence agency or American citizens. Our reputation in the region is already terrible, this has the potential to make it worse.

Anyone interested in this story should do a search on google news.

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