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Brazil Decides Against Joining OPEC

Brazil has decided to stay out of OPEC for the time being as it seeks to expand its oil production, Bloomberg has reported, citing energy minister Bento Albuquerque.

“The idea is just to increase our production and to participate more in the international oil and gas market,” Albuquerque told Bloomberg in an interview. “But this is not a plan for Brazil to join OPEC or any other association or group of oil and gas producers. We don’t want restrictions, we want to increase our production.”

Interestingly, it was Albuquerque who told Reuters earlier this month that Brazil would begin talks with OPEC to discussing joining it later this year.

But now the minister said that even if the talks were successful, Brazil would not join the cartel this year.

The idea is said to have originated with Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, who last year said that OPEC’s top producer and de facto leader Saudi Arabia had informally asked Brazil to join the organization.

“I personally would very much like Brazil to become a member of OPEC,” Bolsonaro said at the Future Investment Initiative 2019 in Riyadh in October.

Even though the latest plans are to stay out of the cartel, Albuquerque told Bloomberg that Brazil was open to a dialogue with OPEC on energy-related topics. At the same time, the country will seek oil tender feedback from international oil companies to improve turnout.

“Petrobras has a lot of oil and lot of areas to exploit, but it doesn’t have enough funds to prospect all these areas,” the minister told Bloomberg. “There’s a limit for Petrobras. For that reason, we want to make it attractive for others to come and do the investment.”

Brazil last year broke a record in oil production, with its annual total passing the 1-billion-barrel mark for the first time. The daily average was 3.106 million barrels. Brazil is expected to become the fifth-largest oil producer globally in the next few years.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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