Senator Questions $2-Billion Loan to Brazil for Offshore Drilling as Domestic Production Languishes

Penny Starr

( – Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is questioning how the United States has benefited from a $2-billion loan the Export Import Bank of the United States made to a Brazilian oil company for its offshore drilling operations.

How has that loan, made several years ago, helped U.S. companies, the senator asked in a March 17, 2011 letter to Fred Hochberg, president of the Export-Import Bank.

“I am sure you can understand the frustration Louisianans have with a $2 billion loan to produce energy offshore Brazil,” Vitter wrote to Hochberg – especially given the “ongoing de facto moratorium” on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Obama administration has approved only three permits for drilling new deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico since it lifted its moratorium on issuing permits last October– seven months after the BP rig explosion and oil spill.

“I would appreciate a full accounting for the return on investment the American taxpayer has received, and is anticipated to receive, on the $2 billion loan to this Brazilian petroleum company,” Vitter wrote to Hochberg. “I want to understand why permitting domestically is nearly stalled, and if there is at least a return on this investment over the last year and a half for supporting production offshore Brazil.”

When Vitter first inquired about the loan to Brazil’s Petrobras two years ago, the Export-Import Bank responded to Vitter’s staff by telephone, explaining that the U.S. would benefit from the loan through the increased export of U.S. drilling products and services…

The article continues at

Related: More Drilling in U.S. is ‘A Problem, Not A Solution’ to Creating Jobs, Says Democrat Member of House Labor Subcommittee and Energy Secretary: I’m Not Going To Talk About Drilling In ANWR But There Are Other Sites

Update: At Babalu Blog, Congressman Rivera: This is an Opportunity for the Obama Admin to Prevent Oil Exploration by a Terrorist State

…Rear Admiral Baumgartner updated Congressman Rivera and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen on the state of Cuban offshore oil exploration.  The Castro regime has begun to lease oil exploration blocks off Cuba’s northern coast and drilling may begin as early as Fall 2011 or early 2012.

The U.S. Coast Guard has plans in place to mount an immediate emergency response in the event of an oil spill, which could affect Florida’s waters within one to three days of an incident.

“There is no longer a question of if, but a question of when Cuba will start drilling for oil.  Some of the drilling sites could be as close as 50 miles from the coast of Key West.  This is an opportunity for the Obama administration to strengthen Helms-Burton and prevent oil exploration by a terrorist state,” Rivera said following the briefing…

CAJ note: headline corrected 10:27 am

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