Scandal hits Brazil on eve of election

Longview News-Journal, 9/7/2014

As Brazilians prepare to vote in a national election next month, a scandal involving the state-controlled oil giant Petrobras flared up again during the weekend over testimony that implicated dozens of top figures in President Dilma Rousseff’s governing coalition in a vast kickback scheme.

Details of the scheme were revealed in confidential testimony by Paulo Roberto Costa, a jailed former executive who oversaw refining operations at Petrobras until 2012. The testimony was obtained by Veja, a Brazilian magazine. The accusations target Rousseff’s energy minister, Edison Lobão, and the leaders of both houses of Congress, Henrique Eduardo Alves and Renan Calheiros.

The revelations complicate a tough re-election bid by Rousseff, who has seen her lead in the polls vanish amid the surging candidacy of Marina Silva, an environmental leader whose campaign has blasted Rousseff over corruption at Petrobras and called on Brazil to shift toward a greater reliance on renewable energy sources. The election is scheduled for Oct. 5.

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Brazil to announce massive offshore oil discovery on Oct. 23

Reuters, 10/03/2013

Brazilian officials plan to announce the discovery of a gigantic offshore oil area near Sergipe state on Oct. 23, a find that could be the country’s biggest outside the massive “subsalt” area off its southern coast, the state government said.

Brazil’s Energy and Mines minister, Edison Lobão, will “officially announce the discovery” during a visit to the state capital Aracaju, a press spokesman for acting governor Jackson Barreto told Reuters on Thursday.

A drilling campaign by state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, and its Indian partner IBV Brasil has shown that their SEAL-11 block and adjoining areas about 100 kilometers (62 miles) off the coast contain more than 1 billion barrels of oil, Reuters reported on Sept. 26.

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Brazil government to invest $440.5 million in energy projects through 2023

Latin American Herald Tribune, 07/31/2013

Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao said the federal government planned to invest 1 million reais ($440.5 million) in energy projects over the next 10 years through its Growth Acceleration Program, or PAC.

Lobao participated Monday in a debate on renewable energies and energy efficiency that was organized by the Lide business leadership group.

The minister touted the country’s energy matrix, noting that the bulk of total installed electricity capacity comes from hydroelectric plants and pointing to the growth in biofuels production.

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Brazil, Russia in talks over nuclear growth

Michael Place – BN Americas, 06/06/2013

The Brazilian government is in talks with Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom to expand the country’s installed atomic capacity.

Rosatom’s vice director Kirill Komarov met with Brazil’s mining and energy minister Edison Lobão in Brasília on Thursday to discuss new opportunities in the sector, local daily O Globo reported.

“We are prepared to invest in Brazil in either a public or joint venture,” Komarov is quoted saying.

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Protest over Brazil hydro drives delay and boosts cost

Stephan Nielsen & Mario Sergio Lima – Bloomberg, 06/06/2013

Protests by indigenous people inBrazil’s Amazon region over hydroelectric projects are boosting costs for companies building dams including Odebrecht SA and Grupo Andrade Gutierrez SA, said Energy Minister Edison Lobao.

The developers “claim that the invasions raise the projects’ costs, and in fact it does, and can even cause the stoppage of works,” Lobao told reporters in Brasilia today.

Indigenous groups say the plants threaten the local environment. The conflict between developers and local tribes will become more pressing with about 10 new hydro projects planned in the Amazon region with more than 10,000 megawatts of capacity over the next decade, according to Erik Eduardo Rego, director of the energy consulting company Excelencia Energia.

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Rains bring some relief to depleted reservoirs of Brazil’s hydroelectric plants

The Washington Post/AP, 01/15/2013

Recent rains have brought some relief to the depleted reservoirs of Brazil’s hydroelectric plants but have done little to dispel concerns over the country’s ability to fulfill its energy demands for the year.

A hotter than usual summer and lack of rain have caused water levels at hydroelectric dams in most of the country to drop to a third of their capacity. The levels are similar to those registered in 2001, when rationing was imposed and blackouts occurred.

The government has said Brazil will not resort to energy rationing because the country has thermal power plants that can be activated.

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Brazil to hold new oil exploration auctions in 2013

Reuters, 09/19/2012

The 11th round of auctions for oil exploration rights in Brazil will be held in 2013, if Congress passes the new royalties law, Brazil’s Energy Minister Edison Lobao said on Tuesday.

The 174 blocks to be offered for exploration in Brazil’s first auction since 2008 will be detailed in coming days, but most of them are located on land, Loboa said at a news conference.

He said he expects the final component of Brazil’s new oil law to pass Congress this year. Brazil is reforming the way it divides lucrative oil royalties among states, which have delayed passage of the law for years now.

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Brazil reviews possible price boost by Petrobras, Estado says

Rodrigo Orihuela – Bloomberg, 03/25/2012

Brazil’s government is analyzing whether to allow Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4) to boost fuel prices, O Estado de Sao Paulo reported, citing an interview with Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao.

A price increase is more likely because inflation is lower this year than in previous years, Lobao told the Sao Paulo-based daily newspaper. The decision is up to President Dilma Rousseff, Lobao said.

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Vale royalty dispute with Brazil close to end, minister says

Maria Luiza Rabello and Juan Pablo Spinetto – Bloomberg, 03/01/2012

Vale SA (VALE5) and the Brazilian government are close to an agreement on a dispute over unpaid royalty payments that may reach 7 billion reais ($4.09 billion), Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao said.

The Brazilian government is analyzing documentation provided by Vale, the world’s largest iron-ore exporter, and expects to reach a conclusion on the amount of overdue payments, Lobao told reporters in Brasilia today. The amount owed, which was 4 billion reais in 2008, may reach 7 billion reais including penalties and interest, he said.

Vale, based in Rio de Janeiro, has been fighting tax claims from the government amid growth in its exports and rising minerals prices. The company and Brazil’s National Mineral Production Department failed to reach an agreement by an initial October deadline. Talks were extended an extra 60 days earlier this week to bring an end to the dispute.

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Brazil to build five new dams in the Amazon but with “oil-rigs” technology

Mercopress, 01/10/2012

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff signed the decree for the construction of five new hydroelectric dams in the Amazon basin and readies for a renewed attack from domestic and international environmentalists against the project.

The five will be built along the Tapajós River in the state of Para to which access will only be by helicopter, to preserve the Amazon rain forest and there will be no constructions in the surrounding area to the dams, announced Mines and Energy minister Edison Lobao.

“This new model of hydroelectric dams is almost like a science fiction film, it reminds us of Avatar” said Lobao in direct reference to film director James Cameron.

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