Petrobras To Increase Marlim Sul Output

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Petrobras, Brazil's state-run oil producer, said it will increase oil output at the offshore Marlim Sul field by 25% by the end of 2011 after adding a new drilling platform. The P-56 platform, with a capacity of 100,000 barrels per day, will be in production by August, Reuters reported.

Petrobras (PBR) expects the platform to reach full capacity by the first quarter of next year. Separately, Petrobras said it will remain a net oil exporter this year even as Brazil's fuel demands swell thanks to the country's booming economy.

Petrobras had to import more barrels of oil products in the first quarter as strong domestic demand and a shortage of sugar-cane ethanol caused a spike in gasoline consumption, Dow Jones reported. Petrobras first became a net exporter of oil in 2006.

The company is forecasting lower diesel imports over the next few months and said it could resume exporting gasoline. Gasoline exports were halted at the end of last year in order to meet domestic demand. Before exports were halted, the company shipped about 30,000 barrels a day of gasoline, primarily to the Caribbean, according to Dow Jones.