Total Targets Brazil

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Total, Europe's third-largest oil company, said it is looking participate in the booming Brazilian oil business as soon as it gets approval from Brazilian regulators to begin tapping the South American country's vast pre-salt oil discoveries. Brazil is the second-largest oil producer in South America behind OPEC member Venezuela.

France-based Total (TOT) said it is well prepared to commence drilling in Brazil and is merely waiting for the country to open various pre-salt fields to auction rounds, which is expected to happen later this year. The comments were made by Total's Yves Louis Darricarrere at a conference on Thursday.

To this point, many of the most lucrative offshore contracts in Brazil have been granted by the government to Petrobras (PBR), Brazil's state-run oil producer. Regulators said earlier this year it will hold the 11th oil and gas exploration bidding round in September for 174 onshore and offshore blocks, excluding subsalt discoveries, according to Reuters.

Last year, Total acquired a 20% stake in the BM-S-54 license in Brazil's Santos Basin from Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A), Europe's largest oil company. By some estimates, Brazil's pre-salt fields may hold up to 50 billion barrels of reserves.

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