Brazilian state-controlled oil giant Petrobras announced that it has brought another platform into operation at the Sapinhoa offshore megafield, one of the country's largest.

The Cidade de Sao Vicente floating, production, storage and offloading vessel, which was brought online earlier this week, will produce 15,000 barrels of oil per day for a maximum period of six months in Sapinhoa Norte, Petrobras said in a statement Friday.

The FPSO was provisionally installed in the northern section of Sapinhoa - one of the country's highly promising, pre-salt fields - and connected to the 3-BRSA-788-SPS well.

"The platform is anchored at a water depth of 2,140 meters (7,021 feet), 310 kilometers (193 miles) off the coast and the produced oil, which is of medium density (30 degree API) and high quality, will be transported via relief tankers," the statement said.

According to Petrobras, the Sapinhoa field is one of Brazil's largest with estimated recoverable volumes of 2.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Sapinhoa was discovered by the consortium that holds the concession rights to explore and develop the BM-S-9 block, where the megafield is located.

BM-S-9 is operated by Petrobras, which has a 45 percent stake in the block. The Spanish-Chinese joint venture Repsol Sinopec Brasil and Britain's BG Group have 25 percent and 30 percent interests, respectively.

The Cidade de Sao Vicente FPSO was sent to the field to start production of the Sapinhoa Norte Early Production System, but two other larger-capacity platforms will develop the reserves on a long-term basis.

According to Petrobras, the Sapinhoa Field Development Plan "lays out two permanent systems composed of FPSOs Cidade de Sao Paulo, in production since Jan. 5, and Cidade de Ilhabela," which is still under construction and is expected to come onstream in the second half of 2014.

Cidade de Sao Paulo has the capacity to produce a daily total of 120,000 barrels of oil and 5 million cubic meters (176 million cubic feet) of natural gas.

Cidade de Ilhabela, meanwhile, will have a production capacity of 150,000 barrels of oil and 6 million cubic meters (211 million cubic feet) of natural gas per day.

Sapinhoa is located in the pre-salt region, a massive ultra-deep offshore oil frontier so-named because the crude reservoirs it contains are located under an extensive layer of salt up to 2,000 meters (6,550 feet) thick.

Distributed across roughly 160,000 sq. kilometers (62,000 sq. miles), the pre-salt region is projected to hold tens of billions of barrels of light oil and could potentially transform the South American country into a major exporter of crude and derivatives. EFE