3rd World Congress of Environmental History

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The development of oil geology in Brazil from a postcolonial perspective

Wed, July 24, 11:00am to 12:30pm, Centro de Filosofia e Ciencias Humanas (CFH), Sala 323 do CFH


The history of the scientific activities developed in Latin American countries remained ignored for a long time: so-called peripheral regions could not be more than an object of study of European sciences and not a place of production of knowledge. Scientific knowledge, then coated with a character of objectivity and universality, was the exclusive prerogative of so-called civilized countries. This perspective has, as one of its consequences, the idea that if something occurs in any of those countries, it would be just a reproduction of European high science and, in the 20th century, of the United States. Escaping from this scientific colonialism means adopting new theoretical and methodological positions to broaden the understanding of processes that occur in these parts of the world.
It is from this perspective that the National Petroleum Council (CNP) in Brazil stands out as a focal point for the development of an independent scientific field, with its own characteristics and priorities, and not just a transplanted copy of a universal model of the northern hemisphere. As these practices develop, transform and advance, there is a change in perception, from the first ideas of a peripheral country that could not produce its own science to the notion that Brazil is now at the forefront of scientific and technological development. technology in the oil sector. Here, I propose a summary of how these changes occurred, since 1939 when Brazil found its first oil, until the discovery of its offshore reserves in the late 1960s and beyond, reaching the period in which the national production of scientific knowledge led to the most recent findings of reservoirs in the pre-salt layer, which are being explored by drilling techniques in ultra-deep waters fully developed in Brazil.