Petrobras has raised $70bn in shares at a higher-than-expected price in the world’s biggest share offering to help tap Brazil’s vast offshore oil reserves.

The $70bn deal roughly comprises $27bn of cash and $43bn of oil that the Brazilian Government swapped for Petrobras shares.

The cash will help fund part of the $224bn exploration plan over the next five years to exploit Brazil’s offshore southern coast, with the goal of turning the country into a major energy exporter.

The area off Brazil’s southern coast contains up to 50 billion barrels of difficult-to-extract but high-quality crude under a thick layer of salt four miles beneath the ocean’s surface, reports Reuters.