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A North American at the Petrobras: the trajectory of the geologist Walter Link (1902 - 1982) at the Exploratory Department - DEPEX/Petrobras (1954 - 1960) and his influence in the technical and exploratory process of oil in Brazil

Grant number: 14/06843-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2014
Effective date (End): June 30, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Science
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Silvia Fernanda de Mendonça Figueirôa
Grantee:Drielli Peyerl
Home Institution: Instituto de Geociências (IG). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):15/03244-3 - The model of the United States oil industry in Brazil: the case of the North American geologist Walter link (1902 - 1982), BE.EP.PD

Abstract

In 1953, after the famous campaign 'O petróleo é nosso', Petrobras was founded as a company of mixed economy responsible for the state's monopoly, and gradually absorbed the activities from the National Petroleum Council (Conselho Nacional do Petróleo - CNP) - 1938. The company started its activities in 1954, carrying out investigative works in the sector of oil exploration aiming to evaluate the real potential of oil exploration in Brazil. Therefore, Petrobras hires the American oil geologist Walter Link (1902 - 1982) to occupy the most important position within the Exploratory Department, which was created in 1955. This strategy would change the course of oil research in Brazil. Walter Link was expert in oil exploration due his work at Standard Oil, when he carried out the mapping of oil reserves in Latin America. The geologist established an ambitious exploration program to implement an organizational structure similar to the American companies, joining studies and previous researches about the Brazilian sedimentary Basins. The result of his research in Brazil culminated in the famous Link Report handed out to the company when he left the job in 1960. On his report, Link classified the Brazilian sedimentary Basins as low-potential Basins and suggested that the exploratory search for oil should be conducted at the Brazilian continental platform. Although the report was confidential, the national and international press became aware of the report's content. Due his declarations, Link was strongly criticized, and the fact that he was a foreign aggravated the situation. Only many years later Petrobras would acknowledge that Link was right. Even nowadays, studies regarding this period of Petrobras always highlight the economic and political repercussions of the Link Report (after 1960), while the facts related to Link's work and to the technical and scientific process of oil exploration between 1954 and 1960 is usually poorly addressed. Thus, the trajectory of Walter Link and exploratory development of oil in Brazil are the central subjects which we aim to investigate on this research. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
PEYERL, DRIELLI; DE MENDONCA FIGUEIROA, SILVIA FERNANDA. Applied geophysics in Brazil and the development of a national oil industry (1930-1960). HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY, v. 36, n. 1 MAY 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
PEYERL, DRIELLI; DE MENDONCA FIGUEIROA, SILVIA FERNANDA; BOSETTI, ELVIO PINTO. THE NORTH AMERICAN GEOLOGIST WALTER KARL LINK AND OIL EXPLORATORY RESEARCH AT PETROBRAS (1954-1960). EARTH SCIENCES HISTORY, v. 35, n. 2, p. 387-398, 2016. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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