Brazil’s petroleum regulator, the National Petroleum Agency, has approved the purchase of ten percent interest by Chinese oil company Sinochem in five offshore blocks in the country.

"Sinochem previously acquired a 40% stake in Norwegian oil company, Statoil’s Peregrino field, for a $3.07bn."

Sinochem purchased the stakes from local unit of Perenco, an Anglo-French oil and gas company, in January and the transaction was approved at the National Petroleum Agency’s board meeting on 3 October 2012.

The deal expands the growing presence of Chinese companies in offshore oil and gas exploration in Brazil.

Sinochem previously acquired a 40% stake in Norwegian oil company, Statoil’s Peregrino field, for a $3.07bn.

The company also acquired another ten percent working stake in five blocks of the offshore Espirito Santos Basin in exchange for funding exploration-commitment wells.

UK-based Perenco retains a 40% operator stake in the blocks, with partner OGX Petroleo e Participacoes holding the remaining 50%.

Meanwhile, Sinopec, one of the major petroleum companies in China, purchased a 30% stake in the Brazilian unit of Galp Energia for $5.19bn and a 40% share of the Brazilian subsidiary of Spanish oil company Repsol YPF for $7bn.

Sinochem Corporation, founded in 1950, is China’s largest trading company and primarily deals in petrochemicals distribution. It operates through more than 100 subsidiaries in China and abroad, in areas ranging from petroleum trading to real estate.