BRASILIA — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the head of Brazil's state-run oil giant Petrobras here Monday discussed US-Brazilian cooperation in deep-water oil exploration, US officials said.
Clinton met in Brasilia with Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Maria das Gracas Foster to "discuss opportunities for US companies to work even more closely with Petrobras," a senior State Department official told reporters.
The chief US diplomat was joined by US Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar in what the official called "economic statecraft."
The official signalled that US firms could benefit from new legislation in Brazil which "is expected to give Petrobras the lead in future pre-salt, deep water oil exploration."
The official added: "Both the Brazilian government and Petrobras have expressed interest in opening space for more international participation in these efforts."
Clinton and Foster also discussed plans "for greater US-Brazilian collaboration in next generation technological solutions to deep-water exploration challenges," the official said.
One area discussed was environmental protection, according to the official.
Petrobras is developing huge deep-water oil reserves off the Brazilian coast, which are estimated to hold 100 billion barrels of high-grade crude. The reserves could turn Brazil into one of the world's top crude oil exporters.
During greetings ahead of their meeting at Clinton's hotel in Brasilia, Clinton told Foster that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had "strongly recommended" that the two meet during the secretary's trip to Brazil.
Rousseff and Clinton attended the weekend Americas Summit in neighboring Cartagena, Colombia and met in Washington last week.
In a speech later to the National Confederation of Industry, Clinton said she believed the United States and Brazil can "do much more" to deepen their partnership.
"I believe that the opportunities and potential for greater investment, trade, growth and jobs is only now being tapped," Clinton said.
She recalled that she had moments earlier discussed with Foster the "exciting future that lies ahead of Brazil because of the extraordinary reserves off your coastline."
In order to promote economic growth for both countries, Clinton outlined key priorities.
"We need to redouble our efforts to conclude a double taxation treaty. We need to explore a bilateral investment treaty. We need to consider in the future a free trade agreement," she said.
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