NEW DELHI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Brazil will start discussions on joining the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries during a visit to Saudi Arabia in July, its energy minister Bento Albuquerque said on Wednesday.
"I have a visit to Saudi Arabia in the middle of this year, then we can start the discussion," Albuquerque told Reuters, adding that Brazil's membership in OPEC would not happen this year.
Brazil's president mooted the idea of joining OPEC in October but the idea was not welcomed by industry as producers feared that Brazil would have to comply with output cuts which OPEC and other producers have agreed to.
When asked if his country would cap output in line with OPEC terms, Albuquerque said: "It is a matter of negotiations, we have to start discussions.
"Saudi Arabia holds the presidency of G20. I will be there in July, then we can start discussion...we have to start discussion on association with OPEC."
Brazil's oil output and exports are growing.
Albuquerque said 2020 will be a better year for Brazil with production estimated at 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 3.1 million bpd in 2019.
It aims to export about 1.4 million bpd of oil in 2020, up from 1.1 million bpd in 2019, in addition to expanding its exploration efforts.
Overall, the country aims to produce 4.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOEPD) in 2020, about 13% more than last year, Albuquerque said.
"We will also increase our exploration of oil and gas. We will continue with our auctions we have planned three auctions for 2020," he said.
Brazil is comfortable with the current Brent crude price of around $64 per barrel, Albuquerque said, calling the price "fair."
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by Jason Neely)