UPDATE 1-In a first, Brazil produces more than 1 billion barrels of oil in 2019

(Adds details on oil and natural gas production)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Brazil produced 1.018 billion barrels of oil in 2019, marking the first time the South American nation passed the billion-barrel mark for annual production, the national oil regulator said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the regulator, known as the ANP, said 2019 output increased 7.78% over the previous year. Brazil produced 3.106 million barrels per day of oil in December, up 0.52% from the previous month and up 15.44% from December 2018.

Brazil has been quickly ramping up its oil and natural gas production over the last year, as state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA and foreign competitors put more production online in a prolific seabed formation known as the pre-salt.

In 2019, total oil production in the pre-salt area reached 633.98 million barrels, ANP said, up 21.56% from 2018.

Total natural gas production reached 44.724 billion cubic meters, up 9.46% from 2018. In December, natural gas production rose 0.87% from the previous month and 21.19% from December 2018 to 137.8 million cubic meters per day. (Reporting by Gram Slattery Editing by Chris Reese and Tom Brown)

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