It’s official. This Saturday, in Dubai, Brazilian President Lula confirmed that his country would join OPEC +, with the aim of “convincing the main oil-producing countries” to prepare the energy transition “without fossil fuels”. Brazil’s invitation was announced Thursday during a meeting of OPEC +, an alliance formed by the thirteen members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and ten partner countries, including Russia. Membership must take place in January.
“Everyone was scared at the idea of Brazil joining OPEC (…) But Brazil is not going to join OPEC. Brazil will join OPEC +,” Lula declared in Dubai, during a round table at COP28, the UN climate conference. “It’s like when I’m invited to participate in the G7. I go there and listen. I only speak after they have made a decision. I don’t decide anything,” added the Brazilian head of state. Last May, Lula was invited to take part in the G7 summit in Japan.
A role of observer
On Friday, the president of the Brazilian company Petrobras, Jean-Paul Prates, said that Brazil should join OPEC + as an “observer”, ruling out the possibility of seeing his country adhere to production quotas decided by the ‘organization. But Lula still intends to play a role in the debates on the energy transition. “It is important to take part in OPEC +, because we must convince the main oil-producing countries that they must prepare for the end of fossil fuels,” he said.
The largest oil producer in Latin America, notably with vast reserves in off-shore pre-salt deposits, Brazil posted crude production of 3.7 million barrels per day in September, according to data from the Argus group, i.e. an increase of almost 17% over one year and “a record level”.
” This is unacceptable “
This confirmation of Brazil’s membership in OPEC + sparked criticism from environmental movements. “Brazil says one thing, but does another at COP28. It is unacceptable that the country which says it defends the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, is now announcing its alignment with the group of the largest oil producers in the world,” reacted Leandro Ramos, from the Brazilian branch of Greenpeace, quoted in a press release.
Lula presents himself at COP28 as a champion of the fight against global warming, showing a significant reduction in deforestation in the Amazon since his return to power in January. But it is also the subject of criticism because of an oil exploration project by the public company Petrobras, near the mouth of the Amazon.