(Dubai) Brazilian President Lula confirmed on Saturday in Dubai 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 13 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,” Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in Dubai during a round table at COP28, the UN climate conference.

“It’s like when I’m invited to 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.

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 his country adhering to production quotas decided by the organization .

But Lula still intends to play a role in the debates on the energy transition. “It’s important to take part in OPEC because you have to convince the major oil-producing countries that they need to prepare for the end of fossil fuels,” he said.

The largest oil producer in Latin America, including vast reserves in offshore 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% year-on-year and “a record high”.

“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.