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Brazil, asked to join OPEC, declines

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 3 -- Iran has invited Brazil to join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to a Brazilian senior government official.

Brazilian Oil Minister Edison Lobao, in an interview with Brazil's Folha newspaper, said OPEC members believe Brazil will in the future be one of the largest oil producers worldwide.

But Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, accompanied by Lobao Sept. 2 at the inaugural ceremony for the first oil production in presalt rocks off Espirito Santo state, demurred, saying that Brazil has been investing in its refining capacity in order to become an exporter of fuel, not crude oil.

In June, Lobao made similar claims based on the fact that Brazil was asked to attend a meeting of oil producer and consumer nations in Jeddah. "The simple fact that we were invited for an emergency meeting means, in my view, OPEC intends to invite us to join, if not now, then in the short run," Lobao had said.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.


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