April 12 (UPI) -- British energy company BP said it wanted to expand its level of cooperation with an oil company in Brazil, one of the largest producers outside of OPEC.
BP signed a broad-based memorandum of understanding with Petróleo Brasileiro, known commonly as Petrobras.
"Petrobras is a world-class energy company with which BP has built strong relationships over many years," BP CEO Bob Dudley said in a statement. "We are now excited to deepen our partnership and explore even more opportunities together across all our businesses -- in the upstream, downstream, trading and low carbon -- both in Brazil and beyond."
Energy majors have been flocking to offshore Brazil already this year. After the government put nearly 50 licenses for offshore work in the auction block last week, German energy company Wintershall, which took a stake in seven areas, said offshore Brazil "is considered one of the most promising oil regions in the world."
The country ranks second behind Venezuela in terms of proven oil reserves in South America. Its Libra field alone holds between 8 billion and 12 billion barrels of recoverable reserves. By the middle of last year, the country had already produced an average of 3.3 million barrels per day in oil and other petroleum liquids. That was up from the full-year 2016 average of 3.2 million barrels per day.
The alliance between BP and Petrobras ranges from exploration and production to refining and the potential transfer of technology.
BP and Petrobras are already partners at 16 exploration blocks in Brazil. In the fourth quarter, BP added more exploration acreage to its portfolio with offshore Brazil and offshore Ivory Coast. The company last year announced six discoveries, for a cumulative total of 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent, its largest since 2004.