Dec. 21 (UPI) -- France-based Total, the operator of Brazil's pre-salt Lapa field, will increase its stake there to 45 percent, and separately create a joint venture with state oil company Petrobras to develop more wind and solar projects.
"We are very pleased to strengthen our presence in the Total-operated Lapa field in the Santos Basin, the first pre-salt producing field operated by an international oil company in Brazil, and to extend our Strategic Alliance with Petrobras to renewable developments," said Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne.
Total had finalized in January a $1.95 billion transaction for the operatorship, as well as 35 percent rights, of the Lapa field which is a deepwater offshore operation that reaches into deep layers below salt formations. The amount included 22.5 percent of another offshore field named Lara and operated by Petrobras.
Now, the companies agreed "the transfer of rights of the remaining 10 percent from Petrobras to Total in the Lapa field for a consideration of $50 million," the statement said. Shell and Repsol-Sinopec hold 30 percent and 25 percent in the field, respectively.
The Lapa field was put in production in December 2016, through a 100,000 barrel-per-day-capacity floating platform. As for Lara, production there had been scheduled to start this year through the 150,000 barrel-per-day-capacity platform, with a second to be added in 2019.
In addition, both companies agreed to "the signing of a binding Master Agreement between Total Eren and Petrobras for the creation of a joint venture by July 31, 2019, to develop onshore projects in the solar and wind segments in Brazil."
The venture will look to build up to 500 MW of installed capacity over the next five years, it added.
Total Eren, founded in 2012, owns and operates wind and hydroelectric power plants with an aggregate output of 950 MW. By 2022, the company plans to increase installed capacity to 3 GW. Total holds a 23 percent stake in Total Eren.
Total Exploration and Production's portfolio currently includes 22 assets, located in the Campos, Santos, Barreirinhas, Ceará, Espirito Santo, Foz do Amazonas and Pelotas basins.
Total said that along with Petrobras it has found new automatic techniques to identify geological faults. The combined work of their researchers has also developed new tools to locate the potentially most productive areas.
Total has been present in Brazil for over 40 years, has more than 3,000 employees there and operates through five affiliates in the exploration and production, gas, lubricants, chemicals and renewable energy segments.
In March 2017, Total and Petrobras signed a Strategic Alliance that was first discussed in December of the previous year.
In Brazil, the companies are also partners in the development of the giant Libra field, which was the first production sharing contract in the pre-salt Santos basin.
Outside Brazil, Petrobras and Total are partners on the Chinook field in the US Gulf of Mexico, on the deep-water Akpo and Egina fields in Nigeria and on the gas fields of San Alberto, San Antonio and Itaú in Bolivia, as well as in the Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline.
Pre-salt oil is of a light, or high quality, and is found in reserves that are in deep-sea areas and under thick layers of salt.
Petrobras has increased its pre-salt production from 41,000 barrels per day in 2010 to an estimated 1.5 million barrels this year, making pre-salt discoveries one of the most important worldwide developments in the last decade.
The pre-salt is a sequence of sedimentary rocks formed by the separation of the current American and African continents, a process that started about 150 million years ago. Before the separation, a single continent known as Gondwana existed.