Shell, Total Announce French Guiana Oil Find

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Royal Dutch Shell and Total, Europe's largest and third-largest oil companies, respectively, along with U.K.-based Tullow Oil announced a large oil find off the coast of French Guiana on Friday. French Guiana shares a border with oil-rich Brazil, boosting hopes the country may be home to hydrocarbons.

Tullow holds a 27.5% stake in the well, which will be the first to be drilled in northern coastal area of French Guiana. The British company is active in other areas of French Guiana and if successful, the company and its partners could be sitting on 3.5 billion barrels of reserves in the South American country, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Both Shell (RDS-A) and Total (TOT) have been looking to increase their exposure in Latin America, but the European oil giants have primarily been looking to do that in Brazil. Venezuela and Brazil are South America's two largest oil producers.

Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago are other South American countries that have also shown offshore oil discoveries. Tullow is planning projects in Guyana and Suriname, which border French Guiana, in October, the Journal reported.