Frances’ Total has signed an agreement with state-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) to take a 25 per cent stake in Qatar’s pre-Khuff formation in the offshore Block BC exploration license.

The 5,649-square-kilometre block, which lies 130 kilometres off Qatar’s coast, will continued to be developed by CNOOC Middle East, a subsidiary of CNOOC.

CNOOC signed a production sharing agreement with Qatar for the block in 2009 and will conduct 2D and 3D seismic surveys and drill at least three exploration wells by 2014.

The French oil major has a longstanding history with Qatar, both upstream and downstream. Its production in Qatar averaged 164,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2010. The firm also other interest in Qatar, including a 10 per cent stake in the Qatargas 1 liquefied natural gas (LNG) joint venture, as well as a 16.7 per cent stake in Qatargas 2 Train 5 and a 24.5 per cent stake in Dolphin Energy (MEED 17:12:10).