BASF’s oil and gas subsidiary Wintershall is planning to undertake exploration of oil and gas reserves off the coast of Brazil to achieve increased growth.

Wintershall, which has onshore and offshore assets in Russia, Norway, Argentina, the UAE and Libya, has increased its profitability when compared with 2016 and intends to launch a new production in established production regions.

Wintershall CEO Mario Mehren said: “We will participate in bidding rounds for exploration licences in 2018.”

The company’s income from operations (EBIT) before special items increased by 53% to €793m last year from €517m in 2016. Meanwhile, net income increased by more than 99% to €719m from €362m in 2016.

In Argentina, the company sold a portion of its interest in the Aguada Pichana Este (East) block to Total Austral earlier this year.

“Our plans for 2018 are based on an average crude oil price (Brent) of $65 per barrel and an average exchange rate of $1.20 per euro.”

This year, Wintershall will infuse funds into the expansion of oil and gas production in Norway, Argentina and Russia.

In the near future, the company will focus on projects such as Nova and Aasta Hansteen in Norway and others located in the Achimov Formation in Russia, as well as in the Tierra del Fuego and Neuquén provinces in Argentina.

Mehren added: “Our plans for 2018 are based on an average crude oil price (Brent) of $65 per barrel and an average exchange rate of $1.20 per euro.

“We expect a considerable increase in sales and EBIT before special items, driven by positive price effects and the start of production at fields in Norway in particular.”

In December last year, BASF signed a letter of intent (LOI) with LetterOne to merge Wintershall energy unit with DEA.

The merger is expected to result in an increased annual production of more than 215 million boe.