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Lula says not in Brazil’s interest to join OPEC

September 8th, 2009

opecBrazil has no interest in joining the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) because it does not aspire to become a crude oil exporter, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Sunday.

Brazil, which has huge offshore oil reserves, was invited to join OPEC by Iran in August 2008 and had previously said it was considering the offer.

During an interview with three French media, TV5 Monde, RFI radio and Le Monde newspaper, Lula was asked whether he thought it would be good for his country to join the Vienna-based organization.

“No,” he said.

“Brazil does not intend to export crude oil. It wants to export refined products. We want to transport the oil to Brazil itself and to build our own petro-chemical industry. It is not at all in our interest to participate in OPEC,” Lula said.

Brazil announced in 2007 the second-biggest oil find in the world in 20 years, “subsalt” fields thought to contain at least 50 billion barrels of light crude.

Lula on Monday proposed an overhaul of Brazilian oil laws to give the state more control over the deposits. It would make state-run Petrobras the sole operator of the offshore fields, and create a fund to finance health and education projects.

His plans, 18 months in the making, are now on a legislative fast track that obliges both houses of Congress to vote within 45 days, though congressional leaders are resisting that.

Reuters (Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Myra MacDonald)


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