Friday Squid Blogging: Biggest Squid Ever

It’s an oil field:

Brazil’s state-run Petrobras confirmed Wednesday that oil fields recently discovered offshore contained 8.3 billion barrels of recoverable crude and gas—and said the biggest field was being renamed “Lula.”

That nomenclature happens to be the nickname of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who steps down on Saturday after overseeing eight years of prosperity in Brazil capped by the oil discoveries.

Petrobras explained, though, that the decision to change the name of the field from Tupi to Lula came from its tradition of naming such deepwater zones after marine animals.

Lula in Portuguese means squid. The president formally added the nickname to his full name, and he is universally known as Lula in the country.

“It’s not my name—it’s the name of a crustacean,” Lula protested when asked whether the move was to honor him, after he bolstered Petrobras’s control over the oil.

Does anyone believe that excuse?

Posted on January 7, 2011 at 4:08 PM21 Comments


antibozo January 7, 2011 5:14 PM

You’d think a guy who goes by the name “Squid” would know that squid are mollusks, not crustaceans.

jgreco January 7, 2011 6:17 PM


Good catch. Could this be a translation error though? I can certainly see your average translator not catching the difference between mollusk and crustacean if the words in Portuguese were sufficiently similar (I don’t know if they are).

Alan Kaminsky January 7, 2011 8:39 PM


According to Google Translate:

English = Portuguese
mollusk = molusco
crustacean = crustáceo

Kind of hard to believe this is a translation error.

On the other hand, both mollusks (e.g. squid) and crustaceans (e.g. crab) are edible and rather tasty, so confounding the two is perhaps forgiveable.

antibozo January 7, 2011 9:40 PM

jgreco, I considered that. The original quote in Portuguese was:

“Não é o meu nome, é o nome de um crustáceo, o lula.”

That’s: “It isn’t my name, it’s the name of a crustacean, the squid.”

I’m not a native speaker of Brasilian Portuguese, however, so I can’t say with certainty that “crustáceo” can’t be used in a more general sense, the way we use “shellfish”, which includes mollusks (though I would find it weird if someone called a squid a shellfish). But it seems more like ignorance in Lula’s case.

Davi Ottenheimer January 8, 2011 2:09 AM

It’s common for a Luis or Luiz in Brasil to be given the nickname Lula. It’s like saying Bob for Robert in English.

And it appears the Petrobas explanation is easily verified on their website

“It was only in 1973 that standards were adopted in the choice of field names. They should be Brazilian fish common to the discovery region. It was also decided to avoid common names of fish. So many oil field were discovered that there were not enough names of fish, which led Petrobras to select names of other marine life for its oil fields. Hence Estrela do Mar, Caravela, Coral, Tartaruga, Cachalote, Jubarte, and Baleia Franca, among others.”

Jean-Claude January 8, 2011 2:22 AM

This is a simple culture/language mistake, but it still involves squid on a Friday night 🙂

Neil in Chicago January 8, 2011 9:51 AM

It smells to me that it would have been less likely for the field’s name to have been the President’s nickname if the nickname weren’t already in the field-naming system.
It’s impossible that the people who chose the name didn’t know what they were doing, but I really doubt it was nothing but sucking up. Anyone here with experience of the Brazilian sense of humor? That could easily be another factor.

Nao sou brasileiro January 8, 2011 12:12 PM

Does anyone believe that excuse?

Brazil was ruled by a military junta for decades, then at the end of the 80s had their first Presidential election. Lula lost at that time, second to some other guy who ended up impeached for corruption. The next election cycle, Lula won, and he went on to have a wildly successful presidency.

Lula ended years of hyper-inflation and built Brazil into the economic powerhouse of Latin America. He was the only world leader viewed favorably by a majority of his country’s population.

Even if they named the oil field mostly after him, it would be more honorary and respectful than sucking up. His term as President ended this week.

Geek Prophet January 8, 2011 2:00 PM

Does anyone believe that excuse?

Aha! I always suspected that my parents had something to do with the fact that the first male name used for a hurricane was “David”.

schemer January 8, 2011 8:02 PM

He wanted to use Lua, but it’s already in use as the name of a popular programming language.

Is squid (lula) spawning coordinated by the moon (Lua)?

brazilian guy January 8, 2011 8:16 PM

@Nao sou brasileiro (I’m not brazilian)

Hyperinflation ended in 1994 (, 8 and a half years before “Squid” sat on the presidential chair. That was during the second presidential term after the end of the military regime, and two before “our savior arrived”.

He didn’t build anything. He just happened to be there (2002 to 2010) when the foreign financial financial crises had stopped and the whole world’s economy was growing (and we grew less than the world average). The fact of being the 5th largest population living on the 5th largest country in the world did nearly all job.

If you like him so much, you should follow his example: recognize the achievements of his predecessors when addressing audiences abroad, and keep the rewritten history to us.

Does anyone believe that excuse?

Well, shortly after that, he announced Petrobras’s CEO would remain in his post during president Dilma’s term.

Nao sou brasileiro January 9, 2011 1:40 PM

@brazilian guy
Thanks for the corrections. I’ll try to do my homework better before I spout off next time.

christopher January 10, 2011 7:29 AM

“Não é o meu nome, é o nome de um crustáceo, o lula.”

He’s being specific about what (he thinks) it is. If he was to refer to any sea thing, he might use criatura do mar or if eating it, mariscada.

Eu falo Brasileiro.

antibozo January 10, 2011 7:40 PM

rkillings> Cephalopod, not gastropod (mollusc) nor arthropod (crustacean).

Cephalopods are in phylum Mollusca, as are gastropods.

Jacson January 14, 2011 10:52 AM

Isso gente, até parece que o Lula é idiota.

Vocês estão papagaiando a Veja pra fora…

Que a petrobras foi puxa-saco do Lula, ela foi, porém tem que cobrar a petrobras não o Lula.

E vocês acham que o cara que foi presidente é burro, tsc tsc, bobinhos…

Peter E Retp January 19, 2011 7:25 PM

From a purely security point of view,
if you copy the text into rtf, it preserves the active link architecture
of the source across the whole text, making it nearly impossible
to quote FROM the text, but forcing you to cite the url.

Bruce, at least, offers the Choice, and allows the quotation option, instead of Forcing citation.

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