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Thu 31 Oct 2019 09:10 AM

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President Bolsonaro says keen for Brazil to join OPEC

His comments come ahead of a major auction next week for oil rights in Brazil, which is rapidly boosting output

President Bolsonaro says keen for Brazil to join OPEC

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has said he was keen for his country to join OPEC, a move that would add the oil producer to a cartel dominated by Saudi Arabia.

His comments come ahead of a major auction next week for oil rights in Brazil, which is rapidly boosting output.

"I would personally like Brazil to become a member of OPEC," Bolsonaro said at the Future Investment Summit (FII) conference in Riyadh.

"I think the potential is there. We have vast oil reserves."

Bolsonaro said he had received an informal invitation Wednesday to join OPEC after meetings with Saudi officials including de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Bloomberg News reported.

"(The invitation) is the first step for maybe putting in place this policy in Brazil," Bolsonaro said on the sidelines of the conference, adding that he needed to consult with Brazilian energy officials before agreeing to join.

Brazil and OPEC could form "a great partnership" that would help stabilise global energy prices, he added.

There was no immediate public comment from Saudi authorities.

But Saudi state media said Bolsonaro and Prince Mohammed "discussed ways to enhance bilateral investments between the two countries".

The Saudi offer, if confirmed, underscores the Latin American nation's importance as an oil producer.

In August, oil and natural gas production in Brazil totalled 3.828 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, according to official figures.

Oil production alone was approximately 2.989 million barrels per day, an increase of 7.7 percent from the previous month.

In recent years, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has sought to develop cooperation with several non-member countries to curb output in an effort to prop up oil prices.

During his visit to Riyadh, Bolsonaro said the kingdom's vast Public Investment Fund would invest $10 billion in Brazil.

If it joins the cartel, Brazil could become the third-biggest producer among OPEC countries after Saudi Arabia and Iraq, according to Bloomberg.

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