Brazil is unlikely to join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries anytime soon, despite overtures from the cartel, the head of the nation's state-run oil company said Thursday.
Petrobras CEO Jose Sergio Gabrielli told The Associated Press that his company isn't yet a big enough oil exporter to warrant joining the organization.
"To join OPEC, I think a country should have a very big export-oriented policy. The Brazilian case isn't like that," Gabrielli told the AP on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Latin America.
He underscored, however, that any decision to join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is the responsibility of Brazil's government and not Petrobras.
In the past two years, Petroleo Brasileiro SA has made vast offshore oil discoveries in Brazilian waters. Experts have said the finds could hold up to 80 billion barrels of oil or more — enough to turn South America's largest nation into a major oil exporter.
Brazil in recent months has received at least two direct invitations to join OPEC, including one from Iran in September, which the government turned down.
Another invitation came last month during a meeting of the cartel in Vienna. It wasn't clear from which country, but at the time, Mines and Energy Minister Edson Lobao said Brazil would only consider such invitations once the development of its offshore finds advances.
Petrobras last year was a net exporter of 100,000 barrels of oil a day — not enough, in Gabrielli's opinion, to warrant joining the cartel, he told the AP.
Gabrielli said that even as Petrobras' production levels increase in coming years, the government is unlikely to change its stance regarding entry into OPEC.
"Our target for increasing our production is much more geared toward the domestic market," he said.
Previously, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and other officials have said that Brazil's goal is not just to export crude, but to produce value-added derivative products such as gasoline and diesel fuel.
"We want to be a big exporter of oil products, not crude oil," Gabrielli said. "OPEC countries ... do not produce oil products."