Brazil’s president declared the country independent of the need for foreign oil as he opened a huge new offshore oil rig in the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday.
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva flipped a switch and drenched his hands in the flowing oil. His gesture recreated one made by President Getúlio Vargas when he created the government-run Petrobras oil company in 1953.
Ironically, the new rig came online in the same week that oil prices set record highs.
Roughly 30 years ago, Brazil imported about 80 percent of its oil.
Petrobras says that when the huge new P-50 oil rig is producing at full capacity six months from now, Brazil’s oil production will average 1.9 million barrels a day, slightly more than the nation’s average daily consumption of 1.85 barrels a day.