BRAZILIAN oil and gas giant Petrobras has received board approval to sell sale the company’s stake in exploration block BM-S-8 to Statoil Brasil Óleo e Gás Ltda for US$2.5 billion.

Petrobras said the transaction comes about as a result of a competitive bidding process and represents a significant development in the strategic partnership between the two companies, which have already signed cooperation agreements for technological development in offshore E&P.

Block BM-S-8 is situated in the Santos Basin and is currently operated by Petrobras (66 per cent), in partnership with Petrogal Brasil S.A. (14 per cent), Queiroz Galvão Exploração e Produção S.A. (10 per cent) and Barra Energia do Brasil Petróleo e Gás Ltda. (10 per cent). A discovery was made in this block, through exploratory drilling in the Carcará area.

Petrobras said this transaction opens up opportunities for partnerships with other companies that have considerable expertise and investment capacity, in order to strengthen the oil and gas industry in Brazil.

The deal also forms an important part of the Petrobras 2015-2016 Partnership and Divestment Plan and completion is subject to the customary prior conditions, including the right of first refusal pertaining to the other partners in block BM-S-8 and approval by the responsible bodies.