Petrobras Expects International Output to Rise

Petrobras expects to meet its 2005 goal of 305,000 barrels per day of foreign output by the middle of next year, several months ahead of schedule, officials said Thursday.

"The production goal for 2005 is going to be met," said Aby Albu, chief of Petrobras' international operations in the Americas, Africa and Asia.

"It's possible that we'll reach it in June or July. We've had some pleasant surprises in fields in Colombia and Venezuela, where Petrobras Energia has been able to increase production with the use of new technologies," he said.

In the eight foreign nations where Petrobras operates, output rose from an average of 246,000Ibpd at the end of 2003 toE263,000 bpd in August.

The company has undertaken an ambitious $7.5 billion plan to expand operations to two more countries and boost international output to 613,000Ebpd by 2010, Albu said at the 2004 Rio Oil and Gas Conference, which concludes here Thursday.

He cited one case, Colombia's Guando field, where current output of 25,000 bpd is more than double what had been projected.

Petrobras Energia, the company's Argentine subsidiary, has been virtually able to "extract oil from rocks" by using secondary recovery techniques in mature fields, Albu said.

In Venezuela, Albu said Petrobras could more than double its current output of 48,493Ibpd to 100,000 bpd.

In the Western Hemisphere, Petrobras also has operations in the United States, Mexico, Bolivia and Peru. Future plans to enter Ecuador and Chile are in the works.

Petrobras' combined domestic and international operations produce slightly more than 2 million barrels-of-oil-equivalent per day of crude and natural gas.

The company's longer-term targets for international output will depend to an extent on the situation in Nigeria, where Petrobras expects to extract at least 100,000 bpd from two fields byI2009.

On Wednesday, the company signed a letter of intent to team up with Angola's state-own oil company, Sonangol, for the exploration, extraction and refining of crude oil and natural gas deposits, Albu said.