France’s Total-led consortium has been awarded exploration rights in the C-M-541 block offshore Brazil.

The exploration rights have been awarded as part of the 16th bidding round held by the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP).

Located in the pre-salt Campos Basin in a water depth of about 3,000m, the block will be operated by Total with 40% interest while Qatar Petroleum and Petronas will have 40% and 20% stakes respectively.

Drilling on first exploration well to start in 2021

The consortium, which also comprises Qatar Petroleum and Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas, plans to commence drilling at the first exploration well in 2021.

Total chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said: “Total is pleased to expand its footprint in the Campos Basin with this new operated exploration block, alongside two strategic partners. It is another demonstration of our ability to seize high quality exploration acreage in a key growth area for the Group.

“This is in line with our strategy to continue building our operator positions in Brazil’s deep offshore, where we can add value thanks to our deepwater competencies.

“It follows on from our acquisition in 2016, through successful direct negotiations with Petrobras, of operatorship of the Lapa field and an interest in the Iara concession.”

As part of the bidding round, Petronas through its subsidiary, Petronas Petróleo Brasil (PPBL) also secured exploration rights for Blocks CM 661 and CM 715, offshore Brazil.

Additionally, Qatar Petroleum won the exploration rights for blocks 659 and 713 in the Campos basin as part of a consortium comprising affiliates of Shell with a 40% interest, Chevron 35% interest, and Qatar Petroleum 25% interest.

Qatar Petroleum president and CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said: “This successful result is the fourth of its kind, which further strengthen Qatar Petroleum’s footprint in Brazil, marking yet another successful step towards realizing our international growth strategy, and turning Brazil into a cornerstone of our international portfolio.”