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Petrobras announced it had broken another production record in the last quarter of 2019, producing more than 3 million bpd of oil equivalent throughout the period, Reuters reports, adding that the output increase came thanks to production in the presalt zone offshore Brazil.
The fourth-quarter production figure was a 5.1-percent increase on the third quarter, and a 13.7-percent improvement on the fourth quarter of 2018. Around half of the total, or 1.533 million bpd of oil equivalent, came from deposits in the presalt area, Petrobras said in a securities filing. This was 12.1 percent higher than presalt oil output in the third quarter and as much as 46.4 percent higher than output a year earlier.
Last month, Brazil’s energy regulator, ANP, reported that the country had produced record high amounts of oil and gas in 2019, with the total exceeding 1 billion barrels for the first time in history. The daily average throughout the year, according to ANP, was 3.106 million bpd.
Petrobras’s average last year was 2.77 million barrels of oil equivalent daily. For this year, however, Petrobras expects to produce a little less than that. The company’s guidance is for 2.7 million bpd of oil equivalent, factoring in planned maintenance and natural depletion at some mature fields. It is reducing investments in onshore, shallow water and post-salt fields in favor of the presalt zone.
The focus of attention this year will continue to be on the presalt fields as the biggest production growth driver. Just the so-called transfer-of-rights area that Petrobras recently took control over from the Brazilian government could hold up to 15 billion barrels of untapped crude. This would double Brazil’s total reserves to 30 billion barrels and make it the world’s fifth-largest oil producer.
Petrobras is currently locked in a dispute with workers who have been striking for ten days, accusing the company of failing to stick to a collective bargaining agreement inked last year. The company is hiring emergency workers to maintain operations.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.