The drilling operation represents Rosneft’s next phase of the exploration program in the Amazon region as operator.

The Russian firm, which purchased interest in the Solimões oil and gas project from PetroRio in 2015, is planning to undertake the well testing and evaluation in second quarter of 2017.

The deal with PetroRio resulted in Rosneft taking over 100% stake in the project.

As part of exploration drilling campaign, Rosneft’s subsidiary Rosneft Brasil plans to drill at least four wells to help determine the hydrocarbon resource potential in the region.

Rosneft said in a statement: “The Solimões project establishes Rosneft as an operator in Brazil, a country with major upstream growth opportunities both onshore and offshore.

“Rosneft continues to evaluate oil and gas monetization options for the Solimões Project.”

Covering an area of approximately 37,000km2, the Solimões project includes 18 license blocks, which has 11 discovered accumulations of hydrocarbons.

In November 2016, Rosneft Brasil signed an agreement with Queiroz Galvão Óleo e Gás to charter an onshore drilling rig and associated rig services.

As per the deal, Schlumberger, in association with Queiroz Galvão Óleo e Gás, agreed to provide Integrated Project Management (IPM) services for the drilling operations in the Solimoes Basin.

In 2014, Rosneft Brasil signed a memorandum of understanding with Petrobras for the detailed analysis of options for monetization of gas in the Solimões basin.

Following the completion of studies, Rosneft is working to progress the priority monetization of the reserves in the Amazon region.