UPDATE 3-Petrobras slashes oil reserves to lowest level in 14 years

viernes 29 de enero de 2016 16:16 GYT

* Oil price, debt, management mistakes spur 20 percent cut

* Rebound in oil prices may not restore all reserve losses

* Reduction expected but larger than anticipated (Adds reserve depletion rate 4th paragraph and certification company name, last paragraph)

By Jeb Blount

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-controlled oil producer Petrobras slashed its oil and natural gas reserves 20 percent on Friday, hit by a plunge in energy prices, a heavy debt load, high costs and a corruption scandal.

The bigger-than-expected cut, reported in a securities filing on Friday, highlights how the once soaring potential of big oil discoveries off the coast of Brazil have faded for Petroleo Brasileiro, as the company is formally known.

The filing showed Petrobras reduced proven reserves to 10.52 billion barrels of oil and natural gas equivalent (boe) as of Dec. 31, their lowest since 2001, according to standards set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Petrobras booked 13.13 billion boe a year earlier.

Petrobras said its reserves now account for 11.3 years of output, down 24 percent from 14.7 years in 2014.

The announcement is one of the strongest statements yet of the sharp reversal of fortune at Petrobras. Reserves are a key factor in determining the company's ability to borrow and provide a return on investment.   Continuación...