Brazil: Halliburton Boiled in Oil Over Shopped Laptops?

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Drilling platform P43: “Overbudget and behind schedule,” the Folha makes a pointed point of alleging.

Halliburton is one of Petrobras’ oldest outside service providers and operates in various areas, most notably in leak and pressure testing on storage tanks. It also built two drilling platforms, P-43 and P-48, that were delivered overbudget and behind schedule. The case wound up in arbitration.

From the press clippings file of the Agência de Notícias de Polícia Federal (Brazil), the Folha de S. Paulo‘s coverage of the theft of two laptops containing strategic data on last year’s big petroleum finds in the Santos Basin.

In charge of shipping the laptops: Halliburton.

Which may need some good crisis PR advice soon. The Cheney-Iraq-“blood for oil” angle is being pounded harder than a zabumba on Fat Tuesday.

[UPDATE, February 18: TV news this morning is reporting the Tupi feds have concluded this was a “common crime”: a standard, boneheaded “break in and pillage all the good stuff.” As in, the laptop hard-drives have probably been wiped and will soon be playinng networked Doom. But the Estadão reports that inquiries continue. Go figure. But see

If it is any consolation to the Brazilians, there have been quite a few cases of astonishing lapses in data security in various gringo governments in recent years, including IRS [tax authority] employees taking unsecured laptops homes stuffed with private data on taxpayers, as I recall. And quite a few jaw-dropping corporate cases as well.

It will be interesting to see how the New York Times covers the story, now that we don’t have Larry Rohter, who is off writing a Nixonian apologia pro pseudojournalism suo, to kick around anymore.

Rohter tended to insist that the Brazilians are endemically paranoid about this sort of thing. Then again, it was Larry Rohter saying this. Selling whose honest and integrity short is not a bad hedge against the risk of believing in nonexistent factoids, I tend to find.

Possibly and allegedly the biggest data ripoff of all time: The bribing of outsourced Mexican government data processing contractors by ChoicePoint to hand over 65 million records from Mexico’s voter registration database. The FBI allegedly hired it to get this done.

One never did quite get all the details on what happened, when, and how, and whether the alleged incident explained how access to this data apparently wound up in the hands of a political party not authorized to have it, which apparently used it to commit massive acts of blatant mapacheria.

Dois laptops (computadores portáteis) e um disco rígido com informações sigilosas e estratégicas da Petrobras foram furtados de um contêiner que estava sob a guarda da Halliburton, empresa americana prestadora de serviços à estatal, em Macaé (a 188 km do Rio). A PF (Polícia Federal) suspeita que o crime seja parte de esquema de espionagem industrial.

Two laptop computers and a hard disk with secret, strategic information belonging to Petrobras were stolen from a shipping container that was in the custody of Halliburton, an American firm that provides services to the state-controlled oil company, in the township of Macaé, 188 km from Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian federal police suspect the crime was part of an industrial espionage scheme.

Os dados desaparecidos são referentes às recentes descobertas de reservas de óleo e gás da estatal. Estavam armazenados nos equipamentos da Halliburton, que os transportaram do porto de Santos para a base da Petrobras na bacia petrolífera de Campos, em Macaé.

The data that disappeared refers to oil reserves recently discovered by Petrobras. The data was stored on Halliburton equipment [?], which was transporting them from Santos to a Petrobras base in the oil-bearing basin of Campos, in Macaé.

Entre as descobertas, está a do campo de Tupi (bacia de Santos), a maior já realizada no país. Suas reservas (ainda dependentes da certificação final) são estimadas entre 5 bilhões e 8 bilhões de barris. Ao todo, o Brasil tem hoje 14 bilhões de barris. As primeiras revelações sobre o furto foram divulgadas na internet na manhã de ontem pelo portal Terra.

Among the recent discoveries was the Tupi field in the Santos Basin, the largest ever found. Its reserves (still subject to final verification) are estimated at between 5 billion and 8 billion barrels. In all, Brasil now has 14 billion barrels in reserves. The first reports of the theft were published on the Internet yesterday morning by the Terra Web site.

A Petrobras foi informada do furto no dia 1º deste mês, quando a Halliburton percebeu que o contêiner havia sido violado. A estatal realizou uma investigação interna e, no mesmo dia, véspera do Carnaval, informou sobre o desaparecimento do material à Superintendência da PF no Rio. O inquérito só foi aberto no dia 7. Ficou a cargo da Delegacia da PF em Macaé, cujas investigações ainda não avançaram. A Petrobras também faz suas apurações.

Petrobras learned of the theft on February 1, when Halliburton discovered that the container had been broken into. The state oil company ran an internal investigation and on the same day, on the eve of Carnaval, reported the disappearance to the federal police superintendency of Rio. The PF did not open an investigation until February 7. Investigations were assigned to the PF office in Macaé, and have not yet made progress. Petrobras is conducting further investigations of its own.

ABIN will probably get involved. There is probably some potential for a quiet diplomatic incident. [Unless it turns out to have been a common break-in with no involvement by any G. Gordons Liddy.]

A Folha apurou que a estatal não descarta a possibilidade de se tratar de espionagem industrial, suspeita também citada à Folha pela delegada Carla de Melo Dolinski, presidente do inquérito. “Nós temos duas linhas de investigação: se foi furto com intuito de obter informações sigilosas e estratégicas ou se foi com o intuito de obter simplesmente materiais de informática. Furto simples, comum, que acontece muito em contêineres”, disse a delegada.

The Folha discovered that Petrobras is not ruling out the possibility of industrial espionage, a suspicion also raised by the chief PF investigator in the case, Carla de Melo Dolinski, to the Folha. “We have two lines of investigation: Whether it was theft for the purpose of obtaining secret, strategic information or simply to obtain computer equipment. Simple, common theft, which happens a lot with containers,” said the PF delegada.

Tell us about it. We shipped some personal belongings through Santos and were very, very nervous about it. At first, we even thought some our belongings had been plundered, but now that we check our inventory, it all seems to be there, including my good-luck, Osama-proof New York City black leather jacket (Cheap Jack’s Vintage Clothing, Union Square).

O que a PF sabe até agora, ainda de acordo com Melo Dolinski, é que o contêiner deixou o porto de Santos no dia 18 de janeiro, com passagem pelo Rio. No pátio da Halliburton em Macaé, o contêiner deu entrada no último dia 1º.

What the PF now knows, according to Dolinski, is that the container left the port of Santos on January 18 on its way to Rio. The container was checked into Hallliburton’s facility in Macaé on February 1.

You can drive from Santos to Rio in about four hours, I think. You can probably upload the contents of a hard drive to a secure server faster. Or you could just download it to a storage brick and courier the data in a briefcase handcuffed to the wrist of a very tough-looking man in black, with tough-looking friends in tow, after wiping the hard disk.

A Halliburton é uma das mais antigas prestadoras de serviço da estatal. Atua em várias áreas, com destaque em testes de vazão e pressão em reservatórios. Também foi responsável pela construção de duas plataformas (P-43 e P-48), cujos preços e prazos estouraram. O caso terminou numa corte arbitral.

Halliburton is one of Petrobras’ oldest outside service providers and operates in various areas, most notably in leak and pressure testing on storage tanks. It also built two drilling platforms, P-43 and P-48, that came in overbudget and behind schedule. The case wound up in arbitration.

Nos EUA, a Halliburton teve como presidente Dick Cheney, o atual vice-presidente do país, e teve forte atuação no Iraque.

In the USA, Halliburton was once led by Dick Cheney, currently vice-president of the United States, and has an extensive presence in Iraq.

“Só sei dizer que o contêiner saiu de Santos em 18 de janeiro e no dia 1º de fevereiro foi encontrado violado. Saiu de Santos, passou pelo Rio e veio para cá [Macaé]. Não sei em que momento esse contêiner foi furtado”, disse a delegada.

“All I know is that the container left Santos on January 18 and was found broken into on February 1. It left Santos, passed through Rio de Janeiro, and proceeded on to [Macaé]. I do not know at what point the theft occurred,” the PR investigator said.

Logo na chegada, os funcionários encarregados do transporte notaram que o lacre do contêiner tinha marcas de violação. A Petrobras foi chamada. Realizou uma vistoria e constatou que os laptops e o disco rígido tinham sumido. A Polícia Federal foi avisada em seguida.

As soon as it arrived, transport workers noticed that the seal on the container showed signs of tampering. Petrobras was called. It inspected the container and noted that laptops and a hard drive had disappeared. The PF was notified immediately.

Em nota, a Petrobras evitou referências à suspeita de que o furto foi cometido por pessoas interessadas em saber mais sobre os campos de petróleo do litoral brasileiro. A estatal informou apenas, no documento, que “houve um furto de equipamentos e materiais que continham informações importantes para a companhia, em instalações de empresa que presta serviços especializados”.

In a press release, Petrobras avoide referring to suspicions that the theft was committed by persons interested in knowing more about Brazilian offshore oil fields. It merely stated that “there was a theft of equipment and materiel that contained information that is important to the company, from a facility belong to a specialized third-party service provider.”

A estatal acrescentou na nota possuir cópias da íntegra dos dados furtados. Mas não revelou qual é o conteúdo das informações nem sobre quais áreas se referem. Procurada pela Folha no Rio, a Halliburton informou que por enquanto não se pronunciará sobre o desaparecimento do material e que recebeu a orientação da Petrobras para que todas as questões a respeito do tema fossem encaminhadas à estatal.

Petrobras added in the press release that it has copies of all the data stolen, but did not reveal the contents of the information or which areas are referred to. Sought out by the Folha in Rio, Halliburton said it will not comment for the time being on the disappearance of the material and that Petrobras had issued instructions for all questions on the matter to be forwarded to it.

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