Foreign Affairs
Brazil President’s Saudi Visit: A Diplomatic Endeavor for Stronger Ties

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited Riyadh on November 28-29 to strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia and encourage its participation in projects, particularly those involving green energy. He invited the Kingdom to be “Brazil’s partners” in the energy transition in the South American nation. Lula emphasized that if Saudi Arabia is the most important country in oil and gas production, Brazil will be called “the Saudi Arabia of green energy” in 10 years.

Mining and Energy Minister Alexandre Silveira presented an overview of Brazil’s energy endeavors and initiatives for Saudi investors to participate. He signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman, aiming to improve cooperation between the two nations. The agreement includes projects in various fields, including oil and gas, electricity, energy efficiency, petrochemicals, hydrogen, renewable energy, and the circular carbon economy. The visit aimed to attract investors and demonstrate Brazilian leadership in the energy transition.

Brazil has significant growth potential in renewable energy sectors, with solar, wind, and biomass energy already making up a significant part of the country’s total energy production. In 2022, almost half of Brazilian energy came from renewable sources, with solar and wind power accounting for 90% of the expansion in 2023. These energy sources are crucial for maintaining the system’s safety and functionality.

In the northeast, where most solar and wind plants have been implemented, there is still room for new projects on land. Offshore wind plants are being developed by entrepreneurs, but they are more expensive and present additional implementation challenges.

Enhancing the Brazilian energy system also requires expanding its energy distribution infrastructure, as the largest consumer market is in the southeast. Investment in transmission lines is also necessary, as the current ones are nearing full operation.

Osmar Chohfi, head of the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, believes that Brazil has a great opportunity to play the role of a strategic partner for Saudi Arabia, which aims to become a carbon-free country by 2060. To achieve this, well-conceived projects led by companies with high-quality governance and a safe regulations system are necessary.

Brazil is constructing the world’s largest green hydrogen plant in the Red Sea, as part of efforts to reduce emissions. Saudi investors can participate in renewable energy projects and carbon credits initiatives in Brazil. Brazil has great potential in energy production and the petrochemical industry. MoUs were signed between Embraer, a leading Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, and the Saudi government, Saudi Arabian Military Industries, and Saudi airline Flynas.

Ports and Airports Minister Silvio Costa Filho presented opportunities for partially privatized Brazilian ports. Lula is seeking funds for his Growth Acceleration Program, a comprehensive public works initiative. Measures to enhance bilateral trade were discussed between Lula and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In 2022, commerce between Brazil and Saudi Arabia reached $8.221 billion, with Brazil mainly buying hydrocarbons and fertilizers.

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