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Petrobras to Provide 5,000 Scholarships to Brazilian Students

State-controlled oil giant Petrobras plans to provide 5,000 scholarships over the next six years to Brazilian students who plan to earn degrees abroad in fields related to the energy industry, the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) said.

The Petrobras scholarship plan, with the cost of 320.9 million reais (about $188.8 million), has been approved by the ANP. The goal is to train workers to meet Petrobras’s growing demand for skilled personnel in strategic areas.

Petrobras, one of the world’s fastest-growing oil companies, expects to hire thousands of workers to begin production in its pre-salt fields, the huge petroleum reserves it found in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean and that offer the potential to turn Brazil into a major oil exporter.

The plan calls for Petrobras to award 2,754 undergraduate scholarships between 2012 and 2017, as well as 1,901 scholarships for doctoral students who want to complement their studies in Brazil with up to 12 months of study abroad, the ANP said. The other 345 scholarships will go to students who wish to pursue four-year doctoral programs overseas.

The scholarships will cover tuition and fees, books, round-trip travel, housing and health insurance. The scholarship plan is part of the Science without Borders program announced last December by President Dilma Rousseff to support students who pursue degrees abroad. The program is expected to assist 100,000 university students by 2014 at a cost of about $2 billion.

Rousseff has signed agreements with several countries, including the United States, France and Britain, opening the way for foreign universities to provide slots for Brazilian students.

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