Brazil August oil, gas output rises 1.7 pct, buoyed by subsalt
* Statoil is Brazil's No. 2 producer for fourth month
* OGX offshore output falls to zero in August, ANP says
RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Brazil's oil and natural gas output rose for the second time in three months in August as new output from giant offshore fields barely outpaced declines from the depletion of older areas and maintenance, oil industry watchdog ANP said on Tuesday.
Forty-eight oil companies produced an average 2.495 million barrels of oil and natural gas equivalent per day (boepd) in the month, 1.7 percent more than the same month a year earlier, ANP said in a statement. Output rose 1.1 percent from July.
The increases were driven by rising production from so-called subsalt fields. These discoveries, part of a giant new oil province in the Campos and Santos Basins near Rio de Janeiro, are trapped deep beneath the seabed by a layer of salt and were first announced in 2007.
Subsalt output rose 1.9 percent from July to 365,600 boepd, or 15 percent of Brazil's total. Subsalt output is 80 percent higher than a year ago, a sign that this new output is only just keeping pace with production losses in other more mature areas.
As of August, overall Brazilian output has declined in 16 of the previous 18 months despite the new subsalt production and giant investments from companies such as state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.
Petrobras, as the company is known, is in the middle of a $237 billion, five-year investment plan, the world's largest corporate spending program. Petrobras accounted for 89 percent of output in August, down from 90 percent in July and remained the country's leading producer.
STATOIL IN SECOND PLACE
Norway's Statoil ASA was the No. 2 producer for a fourth-straight month with 50,233 boepd of output, 14 percent more than in July and 33 percent more than a year ago. Brazil's BG Group Plc was No. 3, with 47,626 boepd, 7.86 percent more than in July and 50 percent more than a year ago.
OGX Petróleo e Gás Participações SA, the oil and gas unit of Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista, which today said it failed to make a bond payment of about $45 million, had no output from its only offshore field, Tubarão Azul.
Poor output at OGX helped cause the sharp decline in investor confidence in Batista's EBX energy, mining, port and shipbuilding group and has crimped its ability to generate cash to pay for debt and investments.
OGX, though, has a share of the 20,007 boepd produced onshore by OGX Maranhão Petroleo e Gas SA. OGX owns 67 percent of the company, which is also owned by Eneva SA, the former MPX Energia, an electricity-generation company controlled by Germany's E.ON SE. OGX Maranhão output rose 3.8 percent from July. Nearly all of OGX Maranhão's output is natural gas.
OGX Maranhão's output makes it Brazil's sixth largest producer and No. 2 Brazilian-based oil and gas company by output after Petrobras.