Brazil Petrobras Plans to Bring 2 New Platforms On Stream in May

RIO DE JANEIRO Feb.14, 2007 (Dow Jones Newsiwres)

Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), or Petrobras, plans to bring two new oil platforms on stream in May, and two other large platforms in September, a company manager said Wednesday.

The four platforms will have a combined output capacity of 480,000 barrels of oil a day.

In May, Petrobras has scheduled to bring a small platform on stream that is slated to produce 20,000 b/d from the Piranema field off the coast of northeastern Sergipe state, said Eduardo Molinari, coordinator for strategy and portfolio management of exploration and production at Petrobras, during a Webcast on fourth-quarter earnings.

Petrobras had originally planned to bring the Piranema platform on stream in April.

By the end of May, the company also plans 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 platforms 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.

Molinari also gave details on the ramp-up of several platforms that have started output recently.

Production at the P-50 rig which Petrobras took on stream last April now has reached 170,000 b/d, he said. The P-50 originally was supposed to reach its full 180,000 output capacity last October. But problems with drilling equipment had delayed the ramp-up schedule.

Spanish-Argentine energy company Repsol-YPF (REP) has a 10% stake in production from the P-50.

During the same Webcast, Petrobras Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa downplayed the importance of frequent delays in the company's plans to start and ramp up production at new platforms.

"We establish our goals as a challenge, always eying the maximum output we could reach," Barbassa said. "But the most important thing is that our output is continuously growing."

Petrobras said it expects to produce an average of 1.919 million b/d of oil from its Brazilian fields in 2007, up from an average output of 1.778 million b/d in 2006.

Molinari added that Petrobras now is producing 30,000 b/d at its FPSO Capixaba unit, which it took on stream at the Golfinho field off the coast of Espirito Santo State in May 2006. That unit is expected to pump 60,000 b/d by June, he said.

Petrobras currently produces 12,000 b/d at its FPSO Rio de Janeiro, which it took on stream at the Espardarte field in January, half a year ahead of its original schedule. The rig is expected to produce 80,000 b/d by August and has an output capacity of 100,000 b/d.

Molinari also said that Petrobras now produces about 20,000 b/d at its P-34 platform, which is expected to reach its output peak of 60,000 b/d in June. The company had started production at the P-34 in December.

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