Brazil-based Petrobras has announced it plans to triple oil production from the country’s extensive deepwater fields by 2017.

The state-run energy producer said it will invest nearly $147bn (mainly in exploration and production), or 62% of the total $236.7bn that it earmarked for the five-year plan, reported AFP.

Petrobras stated, while releasing its management and business plan to investors, that it plans to extract 962,500 barrels a day by 2017, which is three times more than its current 300,000.

Petrobas president, Graca Foster, was quoted by AFP as saying that exploration and production is the company’s top priority.

"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, Foster added. "That’s one million more than what we had in 2012."

The company expects its crude oil production to reach 2.75 million barrels a day in 2017, up from 1.98 million in 2012. On Sunday, in an interview with TV Brazil, Foster said output will reach 4.2 million bpd by 2020.

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By GlobalData
"Petrobas president, Graca Foster, was quoted by AFP as saying that exploration and production is the company’s top priority."

According to Foster, the 52% rise in production will mainly come from the pre-salt reserves, located at a depth of 6,000 metres (19,000 feet) under a thick deposit of salt off south-eastern Brazil.

In 2012, Brazil produced an average of 1.9 million bpd, while its production from the pre-salt reserves, which was found in 2007 off south-eastern Brazil and was estimated to contain about 100 billion barrels of crude, reached a record 214,000 bpd on 27 December 2012.

This rise in output, however, represents only seven percent of the average annual crude output in Brazil, noted AFP.

Petrobras chief financial officer, Almir Barbassa, was quoted by Reuters as saying that new oil production is required to generate cash to reduce the company’s debt. Barbassa noted that a plan to lower costs on Petrobras oil wells can save nearly $1.4bn.

Image: Petrobas president Graca Foster. Photo courtesy of Roosewelt Pinheiro / ABr.