Explaining Brazil #81: Oil, Brazil’s underwater treasure

In November, Brazil is set to hold what will be the country’s biggest oil and gas auction on record. The administration has lured international players like Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP—as well as major Chinese firms—selling off exploration areas in Brazil’s famous deepwater pre-salt oil layer. The precise amount of oil stored in the reserves is still uncertain, but it could reach 15 billion barrels—something in the ballpark of the entire reserves of countries like Mexico or Angola.

This week, we will be talking about Brazil’s oil industry—how Brazil rose to become one of the main offshore oil drilling countries in the world, and what challenges lie ahead. 

We also talk about the recent oil spill in Northeastern Brazil.

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On this episode:

  • Maria Martha Bruno is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others, and worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.

Background reading:

Explaining Brazil is made by:

  • Gustavo Ribeiro, editor in chief of The Brazilian Report. He has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de S.Paulo, Médiapart, and Radio France Internationale.
  • Euan Marshall, editing. is a journalist and translator who has lived in São Paulo, Brazil since 2011. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, his work has been published in The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Independent, among others.

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