Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petrobras has received a $1.9 billion payment for the sale of a 5% working interest in the giant Buzios pre-salt field in the Santos basin to China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

The deal was first announced in September 2021 as CNOOC had a contractual option to increase its stake in Buzios.

In November 2019, Petrobras, CNOOC and China National Oil & Gas Exploration & Development Corporation (CNODC) acquired the rights to produce surplus volumes from Buzios on top of the 3.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent that were originally granted to the Brazilian company in a transfer of rights agreement.

Petrobras held 90% of the rights, with the two Chinese players each holding 5%. The two Chinese companies had options to double their respective shares in Buzios, but only CNOOC decided to do so.

The conclusion of the deal that will give CNOOC a higher interest in Buzios is subject to Brazil’s Mines & Energy Ministry signing off the production sharing contract amendment.

With consolidation of both the reserves in the transfer of rights agreement and the surplus volumes, plus the full field development plan under the new deal, the stakes held by each company at Buzios have been reassigned.

Petrobras was given an 88.99% operating stake in Buzios, CNOOC will hold 7.34% and CNODC will have 3.67%.

Buzios is Brazil’s largest field and is estimated to hold total reserves of 11.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The consortium is already producing at Buzios via four floating production, storage and offloading vessels — the P-74, P-75, P-76 and P-77.

A fifth unit, the Almirante Barroso FPSO, is due to begin operation next year, to be followed by the Almirante Tamandare FPSO in 2024, the P-78 and P-79 FPSOs in 2025, the P-80 and P-82 FPSOs in 2026 and the P-83 FPSO in 2027.

A 12th and final floater has yet to be contracted. Petrobras expects Buzios to be producing more than 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by the end of the decade.

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