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Regional News

August 28, 2005
Brazil team to look at joint oil, gas exploration


Plans are in train for a mission from the Brazilian state-owned oil company, Petro-bras, to visit Guyana early next month to look at opportunities for joint exploration in offshore oil and gas.

Brazilian Charge d' Affaires in Georgetown, Luiz Fonseca, told Stabroek News on Friday when contacted that Brazil's Deputy Minister of External Relations is also due to arrive at the head of that mission. However, the visit is still to be confirmed.

During a visit to Guyana in February, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had, at the request of President Bharrat Jagdeo, agreed to send a mission from Petrobras to Guyana within 60 days of his visit to look at the possibilities of joint exploration.

Border controversies with Venezuela and Suriname have hampered Guyana's drive for oil exploration.

On the issue of the Takutu Bridge, in which the Brazilian President said he was taking a personal interest, Fonseca said that in recent weeks there had been no new development on the issue.

Work on the bridge stopped in 2001 due to financial irregularities. Since then the general accounting courts in Brazil had given the Ministry of Transportation the approval to continue the works. Lula had said that another 60 to 90 days were needed to fulfil the requirements established by the courts and the Brazilian government would have to renegotiate the contract with the company that was building the bridge. Alternatively he had said that, "we would try to involve the engineering battalion of our army."

He had said he was very much aware of the importance of the bridge for Guyana and especially for the northern states of Brazil, particularly, Roraima.
Fonseca expects that action on the issue of the bridge among others would gain momentum with the arrival of Brazil's newly designated ambassador to Guyana Arthur Meyer. He is still in Guinea Bissau on account of general elections there and is due to arrive here during the third week in September. Brazil's last ambassador to Guyana, Ney do Prado Dieguez left in May.

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