Klaus Hart Brasilientexte

Aktuelle Berichte aus Brasilien – Politik, Kultur und Naturschutz

„Will the Oil be ours?“ – Brasiliens wichtigster Befreiungstheologe Frei Betto.

Social and union movements are pressuring for the cancellation of the auction to be held on December 18 2008 in Rio de Janeiro of areas of Brazilian oil and natural gas exploration and production.


The existing exploration model is one of the neo liberal legacies which still remain in the federal administration. In 1997 the National Congress approved Law 9.478 which was an initiative of Fernando Henrique Cardoso™s government. It broke the state monopoly of oil exploration and production, opened Petrobras capital (partially privatising it, by selling 30% of its shares on the NY stock exchange) and allowed the exploration of Brazilian oil and gas by transnational companies.Since then the federal government has already auctioned off 711 oil blocks in both on shore and sea areas of a total of 3,383 areas which were up for auction. There are 72 private economic groups involved in oil and gas exploration and production activities in the country of which half are transnationals such as Shell (Anglo-Dutch) and Repsol (Spanish).
The ANP (National Agency for Petroleum) which was instituted during FHC™s government is responsible for holding the auctions even in areas which have possible reserves. Therefore the oil and gas in the pre-salt[1] <#_ftn1> do not belong completely to the Brazilian people. Close to 25% of the already identified reserves in the pre-salt, auctioned at absurd prices, are already owned by private companies, some of which are foreign.According to ANP estimates, the reserves in the pre-salt area represent at least 50 billion barrels of oil and gas which could well reach 80 billion. The reserves which are at present known in Brazil add up to close to 14 billion barrels of oil and gas. World oil production today is 85 million barrels per day.

The discovery of oil in the pre-salt layer could place Brazil as the holder of the third largest reserve in the world after Saudi Arabia and Canada. Added to Venezuela™s, Ecuador™s and Bolivia™s reserves, this strengthens the South American position in relation to the Northern hemisphere™s economic power.

Six countries control more than 80% of the world™s offer of gas and oil: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Russia, Venezuela and Iraq. With the exception of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, all have political problems with the USA which causes permanent tension in the offer.

Oil and natural gas are responsible for more than 50% of global energy sources. However the world™s reserves are starting to show signs of depletion. Structural changes in energy sources take more than 20 years to occur which prolongs humanity™s dependence on this important natural resource.

There is a real ”free for all in the world™s oil war. Transnational companies manipulate the media, corrupt governments and use military force (such as the invasion of Iraq and the re-activating of the of the North American naval command™s Fourth Fleet in Latin America) in order to maintain control over energy sources.

The discovery of oil and natural gas in the pre-salt layer imposes a great challenge: to decide how, why and in what way to explore and produce the huge oil reserves which can deeply transform the economy and the future of national development.

President Lula has defended that this wealth be applied to education which helps our people become free from poverty. It is necessary to debate and approve a new oil law in order to overcome FHC™s ”regulatory limit and establish a new federal pact springing from a just distribution of taxes and royalties arising from oil activities between municipalities and states (today 62% of the resources of the country derived from oil are appropriated by a mere nine Rio de Janeiro municipalities).

In order to guarantee that the pre-salt wealth benefits the Brazilian people and not only accrues profits for private, national or foreign companies, petitions are being signed to be handed in to the National Congress for the project of a Law of Popular Initiative which consolidates the state monopoly of oil, the end of concessions for exploration of Brazilian reserves, the social use of this wealth and the strengthening of Petrobras which is an eminently public company.

According to the Constitution, in order for this to become a project of law it is necessary to gather 1,300,000 signatures. It is therefore fundamental that the whole population participate. Models of the petition as well as more information can be found on the following site: <http://www.presal.org.br>

*Frei Betto is a writer, author of ”Calendário do Poder (Calendar of Power) (Rocco). [1] <#_ftnref1>  The pre-salt layer is a gigantic reservoir of oil and natural gas located in the Santos, Campos and Espirito Santo basins (along the coast between the states of Santa Catarina and Espirito Santo). These reserves are located below the salt layer (which can be as thick as 2 Km.). Therefore they are located between 5000 and 7000 metres below sea level.

He is a Brazilian Dominican with an international reputation as a liberation theologian. Within Brazil he is equally famous as a writer, with over 52 books to his name.  In 1985 he won Brazil™s most important literary prize, the Jabuti, and was elected Intellectual of the Year by the members of the Brazilian Writers™ Union. Frei Betto has always been active in Brazilian social movements, and has been an adviser to the Church™s ministry to workers in Sáo Paulo™s industrial belt, to the Church base communities, and to the Landless Rural Workers™ Movement (MST). In 2003-2004, he was Special Adviser to President Lula and Coordinator of Social Mobilisation for the Brazilian Government™s Zero Hunger programme.

Dieser Beitrag wurde am Mittwoch, 10. Dezember 2008 um 22:38 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Politik abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen.

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