Thursday, March 24, 2011

Corrected: "Heard the one about Obama, George Soros and Petrobras?" (PBR)

Correction: A reader writes to say that James Hackett, CEO of Anadarko, mentioned below as accompanying the Prez., was very ill and not able to attend the Brazil meetings.
[damn, that was fast -ed]
Original post:
Quick, name the execs that accompanied the President on his trip to Brazil.*
This little diversion from our regularly scheduled programming was prompted by a comment Presidnt Obama made to the President of Brazil regarding Brazil's offshore oil:

“We want to help you with the 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,”

A twofer. First up the Houston Chronicle's Fuel Fix blog:
Anger over the glacial pace of new deep-water drilling permits has been a constant among many FuelFix readers for the past 6 months. A less-frequent but no-less-intense response comes up anytime we mention the work of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.
The roots of this ire? A loan the U.S. Export-Import Bankmade available to Petrobras in April 2009 to expand its offshore drilling by buying from U.S. suppliers. Before the loan was made, billionaire hedge fund manager/major Barack Obama fundraiser George Soros — invested in Petrobras.
So, when we wrote about U.S. regulators approving Petrobras’ use of a new floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) last week we got comments like this:
“Is this the same Petrobras that Obama sent money to? That Soros is involved in? What a coincidence that they are starting to drill.”
“George Soros doesn’t ask obama to do things, he tells him what to do. He owns him. Soros is the puppeteer, he pulls the strings.”
“(Petrobras) caused the drilling stoppage to begin with to allow Obama to pay back George for all the campaign money so he could get cheaper day rates off the rigs.”
Not all of the anger is based on an accurate reading of the facts, however, says Kenneth Rapoza, a former Dow Jones reporter writing for
And from Investors Business Daily:
Editorial: President Obama’s Crony Capitalism
Leadership: Obama critics were quick to link U.S. loans for Brazil oil to benefits for his investor pal George Soros. There was no link in this case, but considering how this president operates, it's no wonder suspicions ran high.

The president's announcement that his administration would lend billions of dollars to develop Brazil's offshore oil reserves left many Americans flabbergasted.

After all, he had issued two drilling moratoriums in U.S. waters and then was declared in contempt of court for defying a federal judge who ordered the moratoriums reversed. Some wondered if the president wasn't intentionally acting against U.S. interests.

Others wanted to know if pleasing political campaign contributors was the idea. The name of Soros, the leftist billionaire, came up because he'd held stock in Petrobras, the Brazilian state oil company. But he dumped the shares six months ago.

Our disengaged president has said little as the Arab world is engulfed in revolution and has been absent as a huge budget battle plays out in Congress. But some lines can be drawn between his more inexplicable decisions and cronyism.

Indeed, many of Obama's decisions have been all about benefiting special interests and political friends — what's been called the Chicago Way. Whatever it's called, it's in the interests of the few at the expense of the whole. Some examples:

• Obama's firm support for nuclear energy in the wake of Japan's nuclear crisis. We don't fault his position, but it's worth noting that General Electric is a principal constructor of nuclear power plants, and its CEO is a close Obama ally....MORE
* Among those accompanying the President were:

and, of course, the one, the only, the peripatetic Mr.

The inclusion of Mr. Faraci reminded me of Dan Ludwig, I'll put together a post shortly.