(Changes dateline, releads with new oil output in May)
By Fernando Exman and Peter Murphy
BRASILIA, March 6 Brazil's state-controlled
energy firm Petrobras (PETR4.SA)(PBR.N) will extract its first
crude oil on May 1 from the potentially huge find it made below
the salt layer of the Santos basin in late 2007, the country's
president said on Friday.
The oil will be drawn from offshore subsalt reserves found
in the 5-to-8-billion-barrel Tupi oil field, one of the largest
deep water finds in history. It is part of a broader structure
of oil at a depth of up to 7 kms (4.4 miles) that analysts have
said could contain 50-80 billion barrels.
"What will happen is very important. We're going to extract
the first barrels of oil at a depth of 6,000 meters. That is no
small feat," President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said,
inaugurating a gas treatment plant in Espirito Santo state.
Initial subsalt output from the Tupi field will be around
15,000 barrels per day rising to 30,000 barrels a day during a
later stage of testing and then to around 100,000 barrels per
day by 2010 when it will be in a more advanced pilot phase.
The Tupi oil will not be the first subsalt crude to see the
light of day. Crude was pumped to great fanfare last September
from a much smaller field in Espirito Santo state.
Petrobras said on Friday that it posted its largest-ever
one-day output of Brazilian crude oil this week after several
new platforms recently came on line.
The firm produced 2,012,654 barrels on Wednesday which was
12,420 barrels more than the previous record set on Christmas
day of 2007.
"This result is due mainly to the coming on line of three
new production platforms in the last months in the Campos basin
(off Rio de Janeiro): P-51 and Cidade de Niteroi in the Marlim
Sul field; and P-53, in Marlim Leste," the firm said.
Petrobras said good performance on several of its other
platforms, notably P-52 and P-54, also helped push output to a
new record. It said several more platforms would begin
producing in 2009, some part-owned by other oil firms.
Last month the company announced plans to invest $174.4
billion over the next five years including in exploration and
(Editing by Christian Wiessner)