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Brazilian state-run energy giant, Petroleo Brasileiro SA or Petrobras (PBR - Analyst Report) provided an update on its proven reserves in the pre-salt region that comprise over a quarter of the company’s total proven reserves.  The pre-salt reserves saw a 43% year-over-year growth in 2013 from the 42 wells drilled in the region, in addition to the strong results from the platforms at the Campos and Santos Basins.  

Petrobras also announced that it set a new pre-salt production record of over 390,000 barrels of oil per day (Bbls/d) on Jan 14, breaking the previous record of 371,000 Bbls/d. A day earlier, at the Lula field, a second production well on the platform Cidade de Paraty came online which contributed to the above result. The total output from the platform is 58,000 Bbls/d, with 28,000 Bbls/d contribution from the new well.

The Santos Basin, producing from the pre-salt region, was the major contributor to the record production, comprising 51%. Nine production wells are operational in the basin with an average production level of 25,000 Bbl/d per commercial well. It was much higher than the production levels at the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, indicating the promising nature of the pre-salt region.  

Petrobras’ total production from the pre-salt fields has crossed 290 million barrels of oil equivalent since 2008, with more to come from the new promising acreage. Last month, Petrobras announced the Declaration of Commerciality for three areas – Lapa, Búzios and Sul de Lula – in the Santos Basin as well.

Petrobras achieved cent percent exploration success in 2013 in the pre-salt region, discovering hydrocarbons from all its drilling ventures.

Santos pre-salt region could see further development in 2014 as 17 new wells are to be connected to the operational platforms. The latter half of 2014 will see two new platforms coming online in the Sapinhoá Norte field and Iracema Sul field, with 5 new wells interconnected to it. The pre-salt production record could reach a new level in 2014 with these new platforms and the 22 wells that are expected to come online.

Petrobras currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). One can also consider energy sector players like Pembina Pipeline Corporation (PBA - Snapshot Report), Seadrill Partners LLC (SDLP - Snapshot Report) and Clayton Williams Energy, Inc. (CWEI - Snapshot Report). All these stocks currently sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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