RIO DE JANEIRO, March 2 (Reuters) - Brazilian oil exports hit their second consecutive record in February, with shipments almost double the level of the same period in 2016, as new offshore production continues to come on stream, government data showed on Thursday.
Oil exports rose to 6.23 million tonnes (roughly 45.7 million barrels), 94 percent higher than in February of last year and 12 percent higher than in January, according to data from Brazil's trade ministry.
The sharp increase is the result of rising production from Brazil's offshore area known as the subsalt, where massive discoveries have been made since the end of the last decade.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency expects Brazil's 2017 output to rise 230,000 bpd on the year to 2.84 million bpd.
New lighter crude from the subsalt area is increasing output and also changing Brazil's production mix, reducing the need to import light crude for its refineries.
The Reuters Trade Flows data has showed that state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA and other Brazil producers -- including Royal Dutch Shell, Repsol, Petrogal and PetroChina -- are competing more aggressively to gain export market share in the U.S. East Coast, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Spain. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Editing by Sandra Maler)