U.S. Wins With NOV's Brazil Deal

Todd Shriber
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The world is full of conspiracy theories. Some blow off these sometimes whacky pearls while others revel in them. Marry the world of finance and politics and conspiracy theorists can be kept occupied for months on end, if not longer. For those that want to take things a step further regarding financial conspiracy theories, the oil business has a few. I am not saying the theories themselves are valid, but some are entertaining.

One oil-related conspiracy theory that is memorable is just that: A theory. The premise being that the White House sent $2 billion in U.S. cash Brazil's way as a way of helping George Soros, who at the time held an equity stake in Brazilian oil giant Petrobras (PBR). The world knows how Soros leans politically and that made for plenty of criticism.

Long story short, even if folks were not complaining about the politics of why $2 billion in U.S. tax dollars were sent migrating south, they were likely to be incensed that the money was leaving at all simply because it could have been used to tap oil resources here in the U.S. Fair enough, but it should be noted it was not the White House that made the $2 billion loan to Brazil, it was made the by the Export-Import Bank and there may now be some benefit to the move.

On Sunday evening, National Oilwell Varco (NOV), the world's largest provider of oilfield equipment, said it inked $1.5 billion in Brazilian contracts. For more details on the news angle, go (HERE). Sometimes other people say it best. From NOV CEO Pete Miller:

''Brazil's extraordinary deepwater discoveries of the past several years have transformed it into one of the most significant offshore markets we serve, and one we expect to continue to grow. We are investing heavily in Brazil to manufacture more of the products and technologies National Oilwell Varco provides to our oil and gas customers.''

Put another way, this is actually a pretty good example of free and fair trade. Yes, Uncle Sam should invest in domestic energy production first and foremost, but there is absolutely no shame in helping other countries do the same for the simple reason that a country like Brazil cannot hope to explore vast oil reserves without services and technology from U.S.-based oil services firms like NOV.

A frequent criticism of the U.S. economy is ''We do not make anything anymore.'' For example, long gone are the days when the U.S. was a dominant maker of steel or televisions. Heck, the iPod was invented here, but is made in Asia.

That the U.S. does not make anything anymore is simply not 100% true. That $1.5 billion NOV contract is going to create jobs, probably in Texas, but those are U.S. jobs nonetheless. Yes, the U.S. is still hooked on foreign oil, but some modicum of equality can be drawn if the U.S. gets other countries hooked on our oil services. Hey, it helps do something about not making anything here anymore.

Todd Shriber