Total said it has acquired a 20% stake from Shell in an exploration block in the pre-salt area of the Santos Basin, Brazil.

The offshore block, located approximately 200km south of Rio de Janeiro, covers an area of 700km² in a water depth of 2,000m.

The acquisition is part of Total’s strategy to increase its presence in exploration and production activities in Brazil.

Exploration drilling is scheduled to take place later this year, subject to approval by the National Agency of Petroleum and The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources.

Operator Shell owns an 80% stake in the block.