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New Order and ProgressDevelopment and Democracy in Brazil$
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Ben Ross Schneider

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190462888

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190462888.001.0001

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Petrobras in the History of Offshore Oil

Petrobras in the History of Offshore Oil

(p.53) 3 Petrobras in the History of Offshore Oil
New Order and Progress

Tyler Priest

Oxford University Press

This essay analyzes the evolution the Brazilian oil industry during the second half of the 20th century and focuses on the aggressive push offshore by the state-owned oil company (or national oil company, NOC), Petrobras. Unlike most other NOCs, which were created to capture rents from large oil reserves previously discovered by foreign companies, Petrobras was instilled with a mission to achieve national self-sufficiency in oil. Although a state-owned oil monopoly born out of nationalism, Petrobras's success in finding and producing oil from increasingly extreme water depths depended on adapting techniques and ideas fashioned abroad and importing high-tech expertise, equipment, and services. This essay contributes to scholarship on the political economy of NOCs by revealing the largely unacknowledged role of multinational oil service companies, contractors, and consultants in the creation and maintenance of an otherwise nationally controlled oil sector.

Keywords:   Petrobras, national oil company, offshore oil, technology, deep water, Campos Basin, Santos Basin, Lula, pre-salt, resource curse

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