Brazil regulator approves Petrobras plan to upgrade Marlim field
By Marta Nogueira
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 25 (Reuters) - Brazil's oil regulator ANP approved a plan by the country's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA to renew its development plan for Brazil's Marlim offshore oil field, one of the country's largest, an ANP director said on Friday.
Petrobras, as the oil company is known, drew up the plan after the ANP told it about two years ago to come up with ways to limit declining output from several of the largest, but ageing, oil fields in the Campos Basin.
The Campos Basin is an offshore region northeast of Rio de Janeiro that was responsible for 76 percent of Brazil's oil output in May, down from 85 percent four years earlier. Output has stagnated as Petrobras has been unable to bring on new areas fast enough to make up for declines from older fields.
While the plan will require Petrobras to make substantial investments in Marlim, the ANP did not say how much Petrobras must spend on the upgrade, the ANP director, Florival Carvalho said.
"The ANP analyzed the plan from the point of view of increasing the capture of oil and they will have to make the investments to get this done," Carvalho said.
The new investments could further burden Petrobras, already the world's most indebted and least profitable major oil company, as it struggles to pay for a $221 billion, five-year investment plan, much of it over budget and behind schedule. Stagnant production and the need to subsidize fuel imports have squeezed Petrobras for cash and caused its debt to soar.
Petrobras officials were not immediately available for comment.
Last year, the ANP approved new development plans for the giant Roncador and Marlim Sul fields, also in the Campos Basin. Roncador, Brazil's top producing field produced 278,000 barrels of oil and equivalent natural gas per day (boepd) a third less than the 359,000 barrels a day it produced four years earlier. Continuación...