International Politics ///

Taking center stage in Brazil is the Oct. 6 presidential election between left-leaning Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and President Fernando Cardoso’s anointed successor, Jose Serra. At press time, Lula da Silva had increased his poll lead over Serra, 39% to 19%. Election concerns, thus far, have not impacted the oil and gas sector. Strong political disputes between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the opposition continue to obscure state firm PDVSA and upstream activity. In August, Bolivia’s government announced that it was delaying, until the end of this year, a decision on the routing of a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline from the landlocked country to the Pacific coast. And to encourage foreign investment in Peru, President Alejandro Toledo last January signed two bills into law that encourage oil exploration.

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