BRASILIA, Sept 18 The head of Brazil's state-run
company Petrobras said on Wednesday there was no
evidence its computers had been hacked by a U.S. intelligence
agency to give American companies the edge in bidding for a
large off-shore oil field next month.
The Brazilian Senate has opened an investigation into
revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on the
private communications of Brazilians including their president,
Dilma Rousseff, and the country's largest company Petrobras,
which has made the world's most important deepwater oil
discoveries in decades.
"There are no reports of a cyber attack on our information
network," Petrobras president Maria das Graças Foster told a
Senate committee hearing. "Our IT technicians say there was no
breach or any sign of a hacking attempt if there was one."
Senators wanted to know whether the U.S. secret surveillance
of the Internet, revealed in documents leaked by former NSA
contractor Edward Snowden and published by Brazilian media,
could have given American companies an advantage in the auction
of the huge Libra field Oct. 21.
Brazil's Globo TV network published slides from an NSA
presentation, dated May 2012, that it said was used to show new
agents how to spy on computer networks of major companies like
Petrobras and Google. The report did not say when the alleged
spying took place, what data might have been gathered or what
exactly the agency may have been seeking.
Foster said the revelations were "very disturbing" and
"embarrassing" but she assured the Senate committee that
Petrobras data does not travel by Internet and, in any case,
seismic and other data for the bidding process was public
In the absence of any evidence of hacking, there is no
reason for Brazil to postpone the Libra auction, she said.
Brazil will double its oil production to 4 million barrels
per day equivalent by 2020 thanks to the deposits found below a
layer of salt off its Atlantic coast, Foster said.
Rousseff on Tuesday called off plans for a state visit to
Washington in October because of spying revelations. The
decision is a big blow to relations between the two biggest
economies in the Americas.