Crude oil exports from Brazil hit an all-time high in July, at 8.1 million tons, which was a 50-percent increase on the year and a threefold improvement on the month, Reuters reports, citing government data.
The reason for the increase was not detailed, but in June, Reuters notes, Petrobras used more crude for its refineries in order to increase fuel production. In that month, the state oil company pumped some 2.03 million bpd of crude, down 1.5 percent on May.
Petrobras, the state oil company, said last month it planned to start production from four new platforms in the last quarter of the year, after the start-up of another two earlier this year. The production expansion reflects Petrobras’ recovery after the 2014 price collapse and the corruptions scandal that revealed millions had been siphoned from the company’s accounts. In fact, according to the company’s head of production and technology development, Petrobras may start building its own platforms in four years.
Higher production will naturally lead to higher exports, with one whole new blend of crude to be exported exclusively to China. Beginning in October, Petrobras will ship the medium-sweet Buzios grade to China to expand its market presence in one of the world’s top importers of crude, taking advantage of the trade war between the United States and China that has seen Beijing announce tariffs on U.S. crude. Related: Bypassing The World’s Key Oil Chokepoints
The Buzios field in the Santos Basin was one of the two that went into production this year and total output is seen at 750,000 bpd by 2021, after the addition of four more platforms. It is similar in properties to the Lula grade, which is popular among Chinese buyers.
Brazil is the fifth-largest crude oil supplier to China, sending some 657,000 bpd to Chinese buyers during the first quarter of the year. More than half of this went to independent refiners, the so-called teapots.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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