President Obama making the case for offshore oil development in Brazil while the Gulf of Mexico remains in limbo.

President Obama was meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia on March 19 when the subject of oil came up. Apparently, Brazil has a lot of it. The Tupi oil field off the shore of Rio de Janeiro in the Santos Basin contains a potential deepwater reserve of 100 billion barrels.

“By some estimates, the oil you recently discovered off the shores of Brazil could amount to twice the reserves we have in the United States,” Obama noted. “We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.”

When the American president said “you,” he’s referring to one of the largest corporations in the Americas — Brazil’s state-owned Petrobras oil company. Obama previously offered the company a $2 billion loan guarantee to help develop the oil field, but to date, Petrobras has yet to bite.

And when Obama claims that the Brazil Tupi oil field could amount to double the reserves here in the United States, he means the currently available reserves. That is to say, the domestic reserves that the Administration has not specifically placed under lock and key.

In the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska, oil production remains at a virtual standstill while an Administration “permitorium” on drilling continues unabated, save for three Gulf permits granted to operations which previously had permits and one allowing for new exploration (we’ll see how far that one gets before the green lawsuits commence). Meanwhile, American rig operators continue to go without jobs while the network of small businesses that support oil production have been dealt blows from which they may never recover. The consumer suffers from ever-higher prices at the pump and from higher transportation costs placed on the products they buy.

To be fair, while President Obama was in Brazil, one company took the occasion to announce that it has received Administration approval to begin deepwater drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico: Petrobras.

If Obama seems to be taking a wrecking ball to domestic oil production while increasing our reliance on oil from unstable foreign regimes, he at least partially explained his reasoning while in Brazil. “In the United States, we’ve jump-started a clean energy industry, and we’ll soon have the capacity to produce 40 percent of the world’s advanced batteries.” Of course, “jump-started” is Washington speak for subsidized. So in essence, the President is more than happy to trade our energy security and tank our economy to lead the world in the production of batteries. You can’t make up stuff like this. If it wasn’t so deeply serious, it might be funny.


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