RIO DE JANEIRO, April 3 (Reuters) - Brazilian output of oil and natural gas rose in February as new fields came on line to replace declining output from older areas, nudging production back up toward the peak it reached two years ago, the country's oil regulator, ANP, said on Thursday.
Forty-eight companies produced 2.61 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from Brazilian on-shore and offshore fields in the month, the highest daily average since February 2012, the ANP said in a statement.
Output was 4.6 percent more than a year earlier and 2.2 percent higher than in January. Brazil also produced a record amount of gas in the month, 81.6 cubic meters a day, the ANP said.
Brazilian output reached a peak of 2.64 boepd in January 2012, but output had stagnated in recent years as state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, performed maintenance on some older platforms. Production from ageing fields also declined and new fields were delayed coming on line.
Petrobras, which owned 87 percent of Brazil's output in February, expects production in 2014 to rise between 6.5 and 8.5 percent as it brings new ships and platforms on line.
The No. 2 Brazilian producer spot was taken by BG Group Plc . BG owned 70,910 boepd of output in the month, 20 percent more than in January. Norway's Statoil ASA was No. 3 with 46,339 boepd, 49 percent more than in January. (Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by David Gregorio)