Energy Secretary Moniz in Brazil

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz  travelled to Latin America last week representing Obama at the inauguration of Paraguay’s new president. On the way, Moniz stopped in Brazil and met with Edison Lobao, Brazil’s Minister of Mines and Energy.  The meeting, mainly due to Paraguay, turned out to be productive.

Here is a link to the White House Fact Sheet on energy related issues that were discussed at the meeting:

The U.S. is lobbying Brazil for a greater presence in the development of its vast energy resources from the Pre-Sal oil fields to “clean energy” such as wind and biofuels.  From published reports, it looks like the popular topic was the possible role that the U.S. could play in the development of Brazil’s shale resources mainly for the extraction of natural gas.

Given the fracking rush in the U.S., I am curious about what resources and interest are actually available.  Nevertheless, the political and business visit demonstrates that after the street protests, things are returning to the Brazilian “normal”.  Investments continue to be made in spite of difficulties,  bureaucratic obstacles and obscure political interests standing in the way.  It is business as “unusual” in its usual fashion in Brazil.

There is certainly interest in alternative projects such as solar and wind, but money and returns dictate the action in the tried-and-true paths where the traditional players have already mapped out the players and have an idea of what they can do.

Certainly, with the devaluation of the Real and the threat of inflation, American and other foreign investors gain a bit more leverage as the Brazilian government once again finds itself in need of maintaining a strong flow of foreign direct investment in an increasingly adverse economic environment.

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