GDF Suez said it signed an asset purchase agreement to acquire a 20 percent interest in two natural gas exploration areas in the Parnaiba region, in northeast Brazil
"Signing of the asset purchase agreement marks the first entry of GDF Suez into the exploration-production activities in Brazil," the French company said in a statement.
GDF said the two reserve areas, which together cover 2,367 square miles, have a "high potential" for natural gas. Partners in the exploration area include British energy company BP and Petroleo Brasileiro, a Brazilian company known also as Petrobras.
"This transaction allows us to work with experienced partners, in a region which is still underexplored but which has a clear potential for natural gas," Didier Holleaux, chief executive officer of the international exploration division for GDF Suez, said in a statement.
GDF Suez gave no estimate of the reserve potential in the two exploration areas. No terms for the deal were announced.
The French company, through its subsidiary Tractebel Energia, is the largest independent utility company in Brazil, producing about 7 percent of the country's total installed capacity of electricity.