Brazil's July oil, gas output posts 16th decline in 17 months

Mon Sep 2, 2013 3:58pm EDT

* Statoil No. 2 Brazil producer in July, BG Group No. 3

* OGX offshore output falls to 889 barrels a day -ANP

* OGX Maranhão gas field No. 1 non-Petrobras on-shore field

By Jeb Blount

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Brazil's oil and natural gas output fell in July as production from new offshore fields declined, adding to more than a year of sluggish output caused by the decline of older areas and maintenance shut-downs.

Forty-six oil companies produced an average 2.47 million barrels of oil and natural gas equivalent per day (boepd) in the month. Although the result was little changed from a year earlier, it marked the 16th decline in 17 months.

Output was 5.2 percent less than in June, hurt by sharp declines in production from the Lula and Jubarte "subsalt" fields and from the giant Marlim Sul field in Brazil's Campos Basin. Output at Marlim Sul, Brazil's most productive field fell 13 percent to 289,000 boepd in July compared with June.

Petrobras, which accounted for 90 percent of output in the month, has seen production stagnate as older fields decline, maintenance of ageing platforms forces shutdowns and project delays have prevented giant, new "subsalt" fields south of Rio de Janeiro from coming on line as quickly as hoped.

The subsalt, the name for a series of oil fields in the Campos and Santos offshore basins where oil is trapped in the earth beneath a layer of salt, is home to some of the world's largest discoveries in the last three decades.

Norway's Statoil ASA was the No. 2 producer in the months with 44,157 boepd of output, 20 percent less than in June. Brazil's BG Group Plc was No. 3, with 44,157 boepd 6.7 percent less than in June.

OGX Petróleo e Gas Participações SA, the oil and gas unit of Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista, reported 886 boepd - its worst monthly output from its offshore Tubarão Azul field and far below the company's expected 80,000 boepd peak. Poor output at OGX helped cause the sharp decline in investor confidence in Batista's EBX energy, mining, port and shipbuilding group.

OGX, though its joint venture with MPX Energia SA , an electricity-generation company, continued to operate the most productive, non-Petrobras on-shore field in Brazil, with its 27,000 boepd Gavião Real field in Brazil's Maranhão state.

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