Petrobras: P-50 Rig to Hit 180,000 b/d Production in December

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 13, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Brazil's state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.BR), or Petrobras, will reach the full 180,000 barrels a day output capacity at its P-50 platfrom in December, a company executive said Monday.

Petrobras had started production at the P-50 in April and originally had expected the platform to reach its full output capacity by October. But problems with drilling equipment had delayed the ramp-up schedule, Petrobras CFO Almir Barbassa said Friday.

Those problems are resolved now, and the platform will reach its full output capacity in December, Eduardo Molinari, coordinator for strategy and portfolio management of exploration and production at Petrobras, said during a Webcast on third-quarter earnings in Rio de Janeiro Monday.

The P-50 now produces 154,000 b/d, Molinari said. Spanish-Argentine energy firm Repsol-YPF (REP) has a 10% stake in production from the P-50.

Petrobras' Brazilian output will rise fast until year-end, as the company will also complete the ramp up of its 100,000 b/d FPSO Capixaba rig, which it took on stream at the Golfinho field off the coast of Espirito Santo state in May.

Also, by the end of November, the company will likely start output at its P-34 rig that is slated to produce 60,000 b/d from the Jubarte field, Molinari said.

And by the end of December, the company plans to start production at the 100,000 b/d FPSO Cidade do Rio de Janeiro that will pump from the Espardarte field. Petrobras moved the production start at that rig forward by half a year to guarantee 2007 output targets, Molinari said.

Next year, Petrobras plans to take four new oil rigs on stream, starting in April with a small platform that is slated to produce 20,000 b/d from the Piranmena field off the coast of northeastern Sergipe state, Molinari said in another Webcast Monday afternoon.

In May, the company intends to start production at its FPSO Cidade de Vitoria platform that is slated to add another 100,000 b/d to output from the Golfinho light oil field.

The most massive ramp-up is planned for September, when Petrobras wants to bring two new rigs on stream - the P-52 and the P-54 - that will each have a capacity to pump 180,000 b/d from the Roncador field, Molinari added.

Domestic oil production rose 3% to an average of 1.779 million barrels a day during the third quarter from a year earlier, the company said Friday.

The slow ramp-up at the P-50 and the FPSO-Capixaba rigs meant that Petrobras probably won't reach its 2006 full-year production target of an average of 1.88 million b/d, Barbassa said Friday. Instead, Petrobras will probably reach an average output of about 96% of the target for the year.

In December, however, Petrobras expects to reach an average domestic oil output of 1.91 million b/d, the company said.

Despite the slower ramp-up of the new oil rigs, Petrobras' net exports of oil and oil products combined reached 54,000 b/d during the third quarter, up from 16,000 b/d a year earlier.

Petrobras is also planning to take new natural gas rigs on stream, starting in December with a platform to produce 6 million cubic meter a day from the Manati field off the coast of northeastern Bahia state.

Petrobras shares at the Sao Paulo stock exchange fell 2.43% to BRL44.25 ($20.40) at 1842 GMT.

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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