France’s Total has bought a 25 per cent stake in Qatar’s Block BC (pre-Khuff) exploration licence from China National Offshore Oil Corporation (Cnooc) International.

Cnooc remains the operator of the 5,649-square-kilometre block, located 130km off Qatar’s coast.

According to Total, 2D and 3D seismic surveys will be undertaken, and at least three exploration wells will be drilled by 2014 under the Block BC exploration and production sharing agreement signed with the government of Qatar.