Total has become the new operator of the offshore Xerelete concession located around 250kms off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil’s Campos basin.

A decision by the Xerelete partners and approval by the Brazilian authorities has transferred the operatorship from Petrobras to Total.

BP holds a 17.6 % interest in the concession located in water depths of 2,400m while Total and Petrobras each hold a 41.2% interest.

Total senior vice president for Exploration & Production Americas Ladislas Paszkiewicz said, "Our decision to assume operatorship of Xerelete is part of the Group’s strategy to strengthen its exploration and production activities in Brazil.."

In 2013, Total will start drilling activities at the Xerelete field which contains relatively heavy oil (17° to 20° API).

The company also owns a 20 % interest in Block BM-S-54, where the Gato do Mato discovery is currently being appraised.