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Petrobras to Boost Output in Brazil and U.S. This Quarter

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, is increasing production in the South American country and the U.S. after output rose at the slowest pace in four years in 2011.

Output in the so-called pre-salt region of Brazil’s southeastern Campos Basin will increase by as much as 35,000 barrels a day this year as the company drills new wells, Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras said in a presentation today. The company plans to start output at the Cascade-Chinook project in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in the first quarter, Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa said.

Petrobras, the world’s biggest oil producer in waters deeper than 300 meters (984 feet), plans to more than double crude and natural-gas output by 2020 as it develops the largest discoveries in the Americas in over three decades. It’s investing $224.7 billion in the five years through 2015, the biggest spending plan in the oil industry.

Output missed targets last year after suppliers delayed equipment delivery and the oil spill at BP Plc’s Macondo well in 2010 led Brazil’s petroleum regulator to increase safety inspections. At the Cascade-Chinook project, tighter regulation and faulty equipment that needed replacement have delayed output by more than a year.

The oil producer said it will also increase output at five offshore platforms it has installed in Brazil since late 2010 as it connects new production wells.

Petrobras fell 1.8 percent to 23.93 reais at 1:03 p.m. in Sao Paulo. Before today, it rose 13 percent this year, less than the 16 percent gain in the benchmark Bovespa index.

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