Secretary Clinton Announces New Energy Partnerships

April 16, 2010

Remarks made by Secretary Clinton yesterday at the InterAmerican Development Bank on the occasion of the preparatory meetings of the Energy and Climate Partnership for the Americas. Video is also available.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much, Luis Alberto, and to everyone here at IDB. Thank you for hosting this important gathering. And I am delighted to see so many friends in the audience representing not only the important work that we talk about today, but the partnership across our hemisphere. And I know that Secretary Chu spoke with you this morning and someone’s already told me that he was the funniest physicist you’ve ever heard from. (Laughter.) And I have to agree, probably the funniest Nobel Prize Laureate as well. Read the rest of this entry »


Shell and Cosan — oil and ethanol merger will deliver cellulosic ethanol from sugar cane

February 17, 2010

An exclusive post that connects to work CIGI’s Portal for North America conducted a few years ago. NOTE: after this article was published I spoke (Feb, 18 at 2:00PM EST) to Iogen who clarified some points. The edits/comments appear in bold.

Early this month, in a transaction estimated at US$12 billion, oil super-major Royal Dutch Shell and Cosan, one of Brazil’s (and the world’s) largest ethanol and sugar processors, agreed  to merge their respective Brazilian ethanol and fuel distribution businesses. The deal alone is noteworthy: it opens global distribution markets to Brazilian ethanol and makes Shell a major player in the ethanol market. Even more interesting, however, is the new joint venture’s (JV) position in second generation ethanol production. The JV will own a 50 percent stake in Canada’s Iogen – a global leader in the production of cellulosic ethanol (Shell’s 50 percent joint venture is in Iogen Energy and not Iogen Corp), and a 14.7 percent interest in California’s Codexis, a top developer of clean biocatalytic process technologies. All stand to gain from this transaction… except, perhaps, Canadian tax payers… Read the rest of this entry »


Brazil ready to move on Africa resources

February 12, 2010

This article by Richard Lapper was originally published in the February 9th edition of the Financial Post

Brazil’s mining company, Vale, is preparing to start operations in Mozambique as South America’s largest economy steps up its involvement in the scramble for Africa’s resources.

The remote town of Tete in central Mozambique sits on top of some of the world’s largest reserves of coal. With migrant workers and contractors flooding in to take advantage of the opportunities created by this multi-billion dollar Brazilian investment, Tete has become a boomtown, its infrastructure creaking under the constant flow of business visitors. Read the Rest of this Entry >>


As we scramble to help Haiti, we see the seeds of a new unity in the Americas

January 20, 2010

This article was published by Canada’s Globe and Mail as a web-exclusive.

It is impossible not to be moved by the desperate scenes of death and destruction in Haiti. That such devastation should befall a country that has known nothing but hardship for decades tests the faith of even the truest of believers. And yet, out of the ashes, a phoenix may rise. For it is human nature to rally, come together and confront adversity. And as the nations of the western hemisphere scramble to provide aid and figure out how to co-operate in the reconstruction, the seeds of a new western unity may be planted. Read the rest of this entry >>


The Costs of Questionable Policies

November 26, 2009

This posting is a guest contribution by Sidney Weintraub, and is published here courtesy of CSIS, Washington, DC where Dr. Weintraub holds the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy .

Read this piece and you will see why I think Sidney Weintraub is among my wisest mentors… after all, who else could bring together the struggles of women in Saudi Arabia and energy issues in the Americas?

Until Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, it was taken for granted that no African-American could become president of the United States. Any great talent in that population group, about 13.5 percent of Americans, was discarded for the top position in the country. The situation has changed, and the United States is surely better for it. Read the rest of this entry »


An in Depth Look at the Proposed Legislation of Brazil’s PreSalt Reserves

November 7, 2009

Brazil: Trailblazing the Hydrocarbon Frontier  This paper was commissioned by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) Energy and National Security Program in Washington DC. This and other points of view on the development of Brazil’s energy sector were discussed at a recent workshop Governing Brazil PreSalt Oil Resources

Throughout its history Brazil has sought to balance its pursuit of energy security with a sense of pragmatism and strong nationalistic tendencies. The pursuit of energy security galvanized the 1950’s constitutional debate and led to greater state control over most aspects of the hydrocarbon fuels sector and the creation of – Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras). The creation of the state oil company as an enterprise obliged to follow commercial legal requirements, instead of a state company insulated from market forces, was the first indication of the pragmatism that has come to define Brazil’s approach to energy resource management. Read the rest of this entry >> 


Brazil votes: Venezuela as Full Member of Mercosur?

October 31, 2009

This posting is a guest contribution by Dr. David Fleischer, Emeritus professor of Political Science at the University of Brasília, and editor of Brazil Focus – a weekly political risk newsletter

After months of “wrangling” in the Brazilian Senate over whether Venezuela should be admitted to full membership in Mercosur, this question advanced in the Senate last week.  The Chamber of Deputies approved this Mercosur protocol last year, but the Senate balked to the point that President Hugo Chávez said that “Brazil’s Senators are ‘lackeys’ of the Bush government”.  As might be expected, this epithet offended the sensibilities of some Senators. Read the rest of this entry »