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On Thursday, Petrobras confirmed that four laptops and two RAM memory chips were stolen in late January from a transport container owned by the U.S. oil-field service company Halliburton (HAL.N: Quote, Profile, Research), a longtime Petrobras business partner.
Halliburton declined to comment, referring inquiries to Petrobras. Petrobras has not specified the nature of the data that was stolen, other than to say that it was "important."
But Brazil's Federal Police, which is investigating the theft, said on Friday that the data came from a drilling ship in the Santos basin, where the recently discovered Tupi field is located.
Siqueira, a former exploration and production engineer at Petrobras, said that 30 years of company research worth up to $2 billion have ended up in unknown hands.
"This is data detailing the total composition of the field, which allows you to know exactly where to drill," he said. "Whoever obtains this data will get enough strategic information for future exploration and drilling in the area."
A Polícia Federal descartou a hipótese de espionagem industrial no furto de equipamentos contendo informações sigilosas da Petrobras depois de prender quatro pessoas no Rio.
Segundo a Polícia Federal, os presos são vigilantes da empresa Bric Log, e desconheciam o conteúdo dos laptops. Ainda de acordo com a PF, eles praticavam furtos do gênero desde setembro do ano passado.