Braspetro Production to Fall on Natural Decline in 2004

The natural decline of the Colombian fields in which Braspetro, an overseas subsidiary of Brazil's state energy company Petrobras, operates means that production will be some 40,000 barrels a day (b/d) in 2004, down from 41,000b/d at present, Braspetro commercialization coordinator Miguel Olarte told BNamericas.

The figure is the total production from the company's fields: Braspetro's net share is 16,000-17,000b/d. Braspetro expects a full-scale waterflood at the Guando field in 2004 to counter falling production elsewhere. Production there will increase to 25,000-27,000b/d in 2004, up from 14,000b/d this year, Olarte said. Braspetro owns 30% of Guando, which is part of the Boqueron block in the Upper Magdalena Valley. Partners are Canada's Nexen (20%) and Colombia's state oil company Ecopetrol (50%). The total production prediction for 2004 does not include possible early production from exploration projects Tierra Negra and Rio Guape in the Llanos basin, and Monicongo, near the Espinal field in the Magdalena basin.

Braspetro will start 2D seismic at Tierra Negra in September-October and is doing studies at Rio Guape in preparation for starting seismic studies in 2004. The company is preparing to drill a deep well at Monicongo, which it owns on a 50:50 basis with Spain's Cepsa. Ecopetrol would probably back in with a 30% stake in the event of commerciality being declared at Monicongo, Olarte said.

Early production from any of the projects could be trucked to an oil pipeline; pipelines would be built at a later stage. Braspetro is also carrying out studies on the Tafura block in the Upper Magdalena, and will start 2D seismic in 2004. It owns 50% of the block and is the operator; the Sipetrol overseas subsidiary of Chile's state oil company Enap owns the other 50%.

Braspetro (Petrobras International Braspetro BV) is one of two Petrobras subsidiaries in Colombia. The other is Petrobras Colombia Ltd, which owns the assets Petrobras bought from British oil company Lasmo in 1998. However, the two units are effectively managed as a single entity. Petrobras's purchase of Argentine energy company Pecom, now called Petrobras Energia, will probably not impact Braspetro in Colombia, as Pecom did not operate there, Olarte said. He did not rule out any acquisitions or divestments as a result of Pecom's incorporation into the Petrobras family, and said that at 40,000b/d, Braspetro's Colombian production is "not insignificant" compared to Petrobras Energia's 180,000b/d.

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