Shell has purchased a 33% stake in the deepwater Guyane Maritime Permit off the coast of French Guiana.

The permit, which is located 150km off the coast encompasses a 32,000km² area in up to 3,000m-deep water.

The purchase, which is subject to approval by French authorities, also includes an option to buy a further 12% interest at a later date.

Shell’s executive vice-president of exploration and commercial, David Lawrence, said the acquisition offers ‘quality acreage to the company’s deep water portfolio in the Americas’.

Operator of the permit area and Tullow affiliate Hardman Petroleum France, holds a 64.5% stake in the permit, Shell Exploration and Production France has a 33% stake and Northpet Investments holds just 2.5%.

The partners are currently carrying out a three-dimensional seismic research programme covering 3,000km² of the permit area.