Petrobras petroleum output surpassed Exxon in third quarter

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company said on Thursday it produced more crude oil and related liquids in the third quarter than Exxon Mobil Corp, making Petroleo Brasileiro SA the world's largest publicly traded petroleum producer for the first time.

Petrobras, based in Rio de Janeiro, produced 2.209 million barrels of oil and other liquids (bpd) a day in Brazil and abroad in the three months ending Sept. 30, according to the company's Web site.

That output was 7 percent more than the 2.065 million bpd Exxon produced in the same quarter, according to the Exxon Mobil website. When natural gas output is included, though, Exxon Mobil remained the world's largest investor-owned producer of hydrocarbons.

The Petrobras record is one of the few bright spots for a company embroiled in a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal that has delayed release of its third-quarter results, put it at risk of breaking debt covenants and shut it out of capital markets.

Still, production was 28 percent less than the 2014 output the Petrobras five-year plan had promised in 2010.

Petrobras has spent heavily to achieve recent production increases after several years of stagnation and more than a decade of missed targets. In achieving the new production record, Petrobras has also become the world's most-indebted and least-profitable major oil company.

Its $221 billion five-year investment plan is among the most expensive in world history and may have to be curtailed in the wake of the scandal. Brazilian police and prosecutors have accused company executives of conspiring with contractors to inflate the value of contracts and kick back some of the excess to executives, politicians and political parties.

Petrobras has seen its market value plummet from nearly $300 billion (199 billion pounds) in 2008 to about $40 billion today. Exxon Mobil is worth $384 billion, the most valuable oil company in the world.

While Petrobras is owned by the Brazilian government, most of its stock is owned by non-government investors and its shares trade in Sao Paulo and New York.

When natural gas production is figured in, Irvine, Texas-based Exxon Mobil produced 3.831 million barrels of oil and equivalent natural gas per day (boepd) in the third quarter, 49 percent more than Petrobras' 2.746 million boepd in the same period.

(Reporting by Jeb Blount and Marta Nogueira; Editing by David Gregorio)

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