Petrobras aims to triple Brazil's offshore oil output

Brazil's state-run energy giant Petrobas said Tuesday it aims to triple oil production from its huge deep-water fields by 2017.

By that date, the company plans to extract 962,500 barrels a day, more than three times the current 300,000, according to the management and business plan released to investors.

"The company's top priority is exploration and production," Petrobas president Maria das Gracas Silva Foster told reporters.

"We need to drill for oil" to obtain the "exceptional results" expected in 2017: 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, including crude oil and natural gas production, she said.

That's "one million more than what we had in 2012," she added.

Excluding natural gas, crude oil output in 2017 would be 2.75 mpd, up from 1.98 million in 2012.

Sunday, Foster told TV Brazil that by 2020, production will reach 4.2 mpd and that 52 percent would come from the so-called pre-salt reserves, located at a depth of 6,000 meters (19,000 feet) under a thick layer of salt off southeastern Brazil.

Last year, the country produced an average of 1.9 mpd.

Output from the pre-salt reserves, discovered in 2007 off southeastern Brazil and estimated to hold up to 100 billion barrels of crude, reached a record 214,000 bpd on December 27.

This represents only seven percent of the average annual crude output in Brazil.

To reach its 2017 production target, Petrobras will invest $147 billion in exploration and production, or 62 percent of the total $236.7 billion called for in the five-year plan.