July 12 (UPI) -- The offshore Brazilian energy sector gets a vote of confidence and solidifies a position as a key focus for Norway's Statoil, the company said Wednesday.
Statoil signed up with a regional partner to take a 10 percent stake in a license area in the lucrative Santos basin, bringing the hold for the Norwegian energy major up to 76 percent in the $379 million deal.
"This acquisition is a further expression of our confidence in Brazil, a core area for Statoil," Anders Opedal, Statoil's country manager for Brazil, said in a statement.
Brazil is one of the largest oil producers that's not a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Statoil estimates the reservoir in question holds between 700 million and 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
The company already claims ownership over the Peregrino field in the Campos basin off the coast of Brazil alongside Chinese energy company Sinochem. In 2015, Statoil said it achieved a production milestone in the region by passing the 100 million barrel mark.
"[This new transaction] also reinforces our position in a world-class asset which is a good match with our competence and capacity" Opedal said.
Statoil confirmed to UPI in April that a federal court in Brazil granted an injunction to suspend the acquisition of an offshore exploration license from the state-run oil company known as Petrobras because of some concerns about competition.
OPEC economists said Wednesday that Brazil was among the lead contributors to expected oil production growth among non-member states, with gains of 220,000 barrels per day expected next year, second only to the United States.