Petrobras Breaks Production Record in Espirito Santo

The State of Espirito Santo, Brazil's second-biggest oil producer, trailing only Rio de Janeiro, broke a new daily production recordib June 15 when it topped-out at 141,700 barrels. This is an impressive volume compared to the average produced in May (99,100 barrels/day), which had already been 5.7% above the average achieved in April (93,700 barrels/day). The record-setting Espirito Santo production was mainly the outcome of platform P-34's good performance in the Jubarte Field, which operated at top capacity and produced 60,000 barrels per day.

Total production down 1% in May

Petrobras' total oil & natural gas production (Brazil & abroad) was 1% lower than April's mark. Production capped at 2,269,503 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/day) in the Brazilian and foreign fields last month.

Oil and gas production in Brazilian fields totaled 2,024,327 boe/day, also 1% lower than the April average. Meanwhile, the company's total production abroad (oil & gas) was 245,176 boe/d, 0.6% above the previous months. The exclusive average oil production abroad was 130,479 barrels per day, while gas production topped at 19.5 million cubic meters a day, constant compared to previous months. Only taking domestic field oil production into account, the average production in May was 1,761,432 barrels, remaining within the range of Brazilian derivative consumption, and 11,000 barrels above the average daily demand in 2006.

Brazil's natural gas production averaged 41.8 million cubic meters per day, stable compared to the previous months.

The 1% production reduction - 17,400 barrels below the average achieved in April - resulted from the postponement, to May, of scheduled platform shutdowns in the Campos Basin, which had previously been expected to take place in February. These shutdowns are mandatory in order for maintenance to be carried out on the equipment used to operate the platforms.

In addition to the scheduled shutdowns in the Campos Basin, there were also operating problems in the Sergipe Sea, where the pipeline that connects the Guaricema and Dourado fields to the mainland broke. There were also problems in the gas compressor installed on platform P-34. The power generator that supplies the compressor malfunctioned, and without it, it was not possible to lift oil.

Finally, the FPSO-type Sheillan vessel - a platform that produces, processes, stores and offloads oil - experienced technical issues and didn't produce, throughout May, 20,000 barrels per day. Chartered by Petrobras, this vessel operates in the Golfinho area, off the Espirito Santo coast.

Operating problems of this sort are transitory and inherent to the oil industry. All cases, pipeline and platforms, were satisfactorily and quickly solved, and the operating situation has been entirely restored. The P-34 had its maximum operating capacity restored before the month's end, going back to lifting 60,000 barrels per day.

When the P-52 and P-54 platforms (Roncador Field, in the Campos Basin), and the Piranema Field platform (Sergipe-Alagoas Basin) go online in the second half of the year, Petrobras' oil production is expected to reach the 2-million-barrel-a-day milestone by late 2007. A significant oil production is guaranteed for June, when new wells will kick their production off and when the operating problems, which took place in May, will have been fully overcome.

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