Statoil is buying a 66 percent stake in the Carcará license from Petrobras, the Brazilian state oil company.
“Through this acquisition we are accessing a world class asset, and we strengthen our position in Brazil, one of Statoil's core areas due to its large resource base and excellent fit with our technology and capabilities,” Eldar Sætre, Statoil's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Statoil also revealed that it is in discussions with Petrobras over forming a long-term strategic cooperation covering the Campos and Espírito Santo basins, two of the world's most exciting oil plays.
Exploratory drilling has already confirmed the presence of 53 billion barrels of oil in the Carcará field, and Statoil estimates that a further 36 billion barrels could yet be confirmed.
The acquisition comes at a time when the state-controlled giant is seeking to cut costs and reduce staff levels after stubbornly low oil prices and refining margins dragged it into a net loss over the last three months.
Statoil on Wednesday announced that it had lost $307m over the last three months, compared to a net profit of $861m in the same period last year. The loss came as a surprise to industry analysts who had expected the company to make a net profit of $264m.
A cooperation agreement with Petrobras could be controversial given the ongoing corruption scandal aroun the Brazilian giant.
Statoil in December hired external experts to investigate whether any of its international executives might be involved in the widespread bribery and corruption surrounding the company.
“Statoil is not part of the ongoing investigation, and in our review, we have not found indications that we are involved in the case,” Knut Rostad, a spokesman for Statoil's international business, told Dagens Næringsliv at the time.