SAO PAULO, March 12 (Reuters) - Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said on Thursday that it began to test output from its Buzios offshore oilfield off Rio de Janeiro in the Santos Basin.
Output will be limited to 15,000 barrels a day because systems to produce natural gas are limited, the company said in a statement.
Petrobras, as the company is known, said it planned to produce in the area for six months to determine the field's long-term production capacity.
Petrobras expects to start regular output from Buzios in 2016 using the P-74 floating production, storage and offloading vessel when the ship's conversion from an oil tanker at a Rio de Janeiro shipyard is complete.
The P-74 was to be one of an order of four tankers converted into FPSOs in Brazil under an ambitious program aimed at helping revive the country's ship-building industry.
The ship, though, will be the only one fully converted at home. Much of the work on the other three had to be subcontracted to China because Brazilian shipyards could not meet Petrobras' quality, cost and delivery-date targets.
The Buzios Field is located about 200 kilometers (124 miles) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in water 1,600 to 2,100 meters (5,249 to 6,890 feet) deep. The field, part of an area purchased in a 2010 oil for stock swap from the Brazilian government, was declared commercially viable in December 2013.
(Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr.; Additional reporting and writing by Jeb Blount; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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