Chinese energy companies are expected to bid for Brazil’s offshore subsalt oil reserves and buy stakes in existing oil projects, a top energy official said.

Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency director Haroldo Lima said that Chinese companies are looking to invest in new joint ventures instead of being part of state oil projects, reports Reuters.

Auctions for the subsalt reserves have not been scheduled yet because Congress is still debating the new rules for companies investing in projects in Brazil.

Chinese energy companies looking to invest in subsalt projects include Sinopec, China National Offshore Oil and China National Petroleum, according to Reuters.

China President Hu Jintao will visit Brazil next week to deepen ties with the nation as it prepares tens of billions of barrels in the offshore subsalt province that has become a new frontier for petroleum exploration.