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Petrobras starts commercial production from Sapinhoa subsalt field

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Petrobras has started commercial production at the Sapinhoa subsalt field as the company attempts to prop up flagging crude output. The Cidade de Sao Paulo FPSO has installed output capacity of 120,000 bopd and 5 MMcmpd, although that peak production won' t be reached until the second half of 2014, Petrobras said.

The production start-up at Sapinhoa comes as Petrobras struggles with declining output amid a $237 billion investment plan to develop the subsalt region, an offshore area where billions of barrels of oil were discovered trapped under a layer of salt miles below the seabed. Petrobras likely fell short of its 2012 production target of 2.02 MMbpd because of maintenance shutdowns at offshore platforms and falling recovery rates at mature fields. It produced 1.97 MMbpd in November. The company also expects to produce about 2.02 MMbpd this year, before output is seen starting to grow in 2014 as more subsalt fields enter production.

Sapinhoa, which was discovered in July 2008, holds estimated recoverable reserves of 2.1 Bboe. A second FPSO is expected to be installed at the field in the second half of 2014, Petrobras said. The field, which was declared commercially viable in late 2011, is expected to produce 15,000 bopd from a single well, Petrobras said. The well has the potential to produce 25,000 bopd, but it said output would be limited as the platform is ramped over 90 days.

Petrobras operates the Sapinhoa field with a 45% stake, while BG Group has a 30% share and Repsol Sinopec Brasil the remaining 25%.

Dow Jones Newswires



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