Brazil Looks To Houston As Model Port As It Develops Offshore Oil

Brazil is about to take a major step toward developing its recently discovered offshore oilfields — estimated to contain the equivalent of more than 8 billion barrels of oil. While Houston companies aren't playing a direct role at the moment, the city isn't sitting on the sidelines either.

Brazil will hold a licensing auction for the Libra oilfield one week from today. It’s the first auction under a new regulatory regime — letting foreign companies partner with state oil company Petrobras to develop Brazil’s oil resources. The country needs the outside expertise because the oil is buried deep under thick layers of rock and salt, known as pre-salt.

One of the biggest challenges in developing the pre-salt fields is the weakness of Brazil’s port system. Roberto Ardenghy is Brazil’s deputy consul general in Houston.

“We already have discussed with the Port of Houston some initiatives to understand how the port here is operated, because this is not just one of the main ports in the country but also the most effective in terms of transportation, handling containers, and all the port’s operations, is one of the most efficient in the country.”

The Port of Houston handles more trade with Brazil than any other port in the United States.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...