By Lucy Jordan, Senior Contributing Reporter

BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – Following three consecutive months of increasing domestic oil production, state-controlled oil giant Petrobras reported decreased output in January, dragged down by aging infrastructure and maintenance shutdowns. Petrobras’ production of oil and natural gas in Brazil in January was 2.368 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), figures released Thursday show.

Maria das Graças Silva Foster, president of Petrobras, Brazil News
Maria das Graças Silva Foster, president of Petrobras at an August 2012 financial presentation, Tânia Rêgo/ABr.

Total domestic output, including the proportion allocated to Petrobras’ partner companies, was 2.455 million boed, representing a 2.5 percent decrease on December 2012.

Petrobras’ total output both in Brazil and overseas averaged 2.611 million boed, representing a 2.7 percent drop on the previous month.

Despite the overall drop, Petrobras noted that production from its pre-salt fields in the Campos and Santos basins, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, reached a new record output of 300,000 bpd. Of this, 83 percent, or 249,000 bpd, correspond to Petrobras’ share, with the remainder corresponding to its partner companies.

Petrobras noted that the benchmark 300,000 bpd figure was reached seven years after the first oil discovery in the pre-salt layer, while in U.S. Gulf of Mexico, it took seventeen years to reach the production of 300,000 bpd.

Petrobras has been hit hard by flagging production and sinking profits, which have suffered due to a government policy of fixing gasoline prices below the global rate. The company reported profits of R$21.1 billion in 2012, a 36.6 percent slump when compared to the previous year.

Petrobras is trying to increase its overall output, with a $237 billion, five-year business plan that would more than double domestic output to 5.2 million b/d of oil equivalent by 2020.

Meanwhile, figures also released Thursday, by Brazil’s oil and gas regulator ANP, showed Brazilian fuel consumption in 2012 rising 6.1 percent to 129,677 billion liters from 122,220 billion liters in 2011.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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