RIO DE JANEIRO, April 27 (Reuters) – Petrobras oil production in Brazil increased in the first quarter as additional wells ramped up or came on stream, while a new rig expected to start pumping in May should contribute to the continuation of this trend, the company said on Wednesday.

In a securities filing, the company said crude production was 2.231 million barrels per day, up 1.6% from the same period last year and 3.7% from compared to the fourth quarter.

Including natural gas, Petrobras produced 2.796 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 1.1% compared to the first quarter of 2021 and 3.4% in quarterly terms.

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In comments accompanying the figures, Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA), the company’s official name, highlighted the continued ramp-up of its Carioca FPSO and P-68 platform, located in the pre-salt, deep-sea training that has become a focus of the company’s efforts in recent years. Average first-quarter production at Carioca was 127,000 bpd, the company said.

The company also noted that two wells came online in early March at its Roncador field, adding 18,000 bpd of production. A number of maintenance shutdowns in the fourth quarter provided the company with a relatively favorable basis for comparison, Petrobras added.

In May, Petrobras is expected to start production of its Guanabara FPSO in the Mero field, which will have a processing capacity of 180,000 bpd when fully operational, the company said.

Refinery utilization rates reached 87% in the quarter and some 91% in the last week of March.

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Reporting by Gram Slattery in Rio de Janeiro and Robeto Samora in Sao Paulo; Editing by Chris Reese, Christian Plumb and David Gregorio

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