January 22, 2020 / 9:26 AM / 24 days ago

UPDATE 3-Brazil to discuss cooperation with OPEC later this year- energy minister

* Brazil expects to be among world’s top 5 exporters in 10 years

* Brazil expects to export 1.4 million bpd in 2014

* Minister plans talks in Saudi on possible cooperation with OPEC

* Minister in Delhi ahead of president’s state visit to India

* Oil and gas sector MOU expected to be signed (Changes dateline, recasts; adds details)

By Nidhi Verma

NEW DELHI, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Brazil will discuss with Saudi Arabia later this year the possibility of cooperation with OPEC, as it aims to become one of the world’s top five exporters during the next decade, its energy minister said on Thursday.

Speaking in New Delhi a day earlier, Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said Brazil’s exports were expected to rise to 1.4 million barrels per day this year, as crude output was seen rising 13% to 3.5 million bpd. The Latin American country shipped 1.1 million bpd last year, when it became a net exporter.

In statement issued on Thursday, his ministry said Albuquerque would hold talks with officials in Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, over possible cooperation with the cartel when he visits Riyadh for G20 energy meeting in mid-year.

“The minister indicated that he intends to attend the G20 energy ministers’ meeting and that he would talk to Saudi officials about the bilateral energy agenda and could even deal with possible cooperation between Brazil and OPEC,” the statement said.

It did not elaborate on whether those talks could lead to Brazil becoming a member of either OPEC, or the OPEC+ group, which includes other exporters like Russia who have allied with the producer cartel to prop up prices by capping output.

The statement was issued after Albuquerque spoke to Reuters following his meeting with India’s oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday. Asked if Brazil would join OPEC, the minister had said it could be discussed during his visit to Riydah in July. And asked whether Brazil could participate in any production pacts, he said it was “a matter of negotiations”.

Albuquerque was in the Indian capital ahead of a state visit on Friday by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro.

When Bolsanaro first floated the possibility of Brazil forging ties with the oil exporter group back in October Brazilian energy officials questioned whether the country would be willing to join output pacts.

Turning to India, Albuquerque said Brazil had the potential to sell “much more” oil to the world’s third biggest oil consumer and importer.

In 2019, India’s oil imports from Brazil declined by 23% to about 47,000 bpd, tanker data obtained from sources showed.

The Middle East is India’s main supplier, though imports from that region fell to a four-year low last year as Indian buyers diversified sources of supply as a precaution against geopolitical risks.

During Bolsanaro’s visit, India hopes to sign agreements including a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the oil and gas sector. (Editing by Jason Neely, Barbara Lewis & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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