Petrobras Could Surpass 2011 Production Target - Exec

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones Newswires), March 1, 2011

Petrobras could surpass its 2011 production target of 2.1 million barrels a day, said the company's area manager for exploration and production.

On a conference call, Petrobras' Hugo Repsold said that several production systems that will enter operation during the year will help compensate for the 10% natural decline rate in the company's oil fields.

"It's always a challenge" to meet production targets, Repsold said on the call with analysts. "But this year it will be less of a challenge than in previous years, and we could arrive at the end of the year with a chance to surpass the target."

In the short term, however, Petrobras' production will suffer with planned maintenance work at several platforms in February and March, Repsold said. The federal oil company takes advantage of low demand for natural gas at thermoelectric power plants to shut down platforms and "clean house," Repsold said.

The executive also said that recent shutdowns at offshore platforms by Brazil's National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, and a regional labor court won't have any affect on production or the company's ability to reach its output target. Petrobras was bringing forward planned maintenance stoppages in order to address any issues from local regulators, Repsold said.

In February, the company was forced to halt output at the Cherne II platform twice to address safety issues. That followed the ANP's August 2010 shutdown of the P-33 platform in the Campos Basin after an inspection encountered "irregularities."

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