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Mac Margolis

Oil Bust Has Brazil in Deep Water

Petrobras has long been perp-walked to a different set of rules.
No popping bottles in there.
No popping bottles in there.

No one was exactly popping champagne corks at Petroleo Brasileiro SA this week. But you could just about hear the chorus of relief over falling oil prices sweep the Brazilian oil major's honeycomb office tower in Rio de Janeiro.

If that sounds odd, it's because Petrobras has long been perp-walked to a different set of rules. Publicly-traded but government-controlled, the Latin American energy giant must please varying masters. Ordinary shareholders would welcome the windfall that higher fuel prices might normally bring. So would Petrobras's managers, who struggle to balance the company's debt-strafed books and retrieve oil from costly ultra-deepwater drilling operations.