French oil & gas giant Total has showed its interest in Malaysian exploration by agreeing to buy an 85% ‘working interest’ in Block SK317B, an exploration zone of over 700 sq km located about 100km off the coast of Sarawak state in Borneo.

Total is already active in the country, with sizable stakes in two blocks near Peninsular Malaysia where it has conducted seismic tests and hopes to commence exploration drilling next year.

Total’s senior VP for exploration in Asia-Pacific said the deal is part of the company’s strategy to open up exploration in new areas, as well as develop its partnerships with national oil groups like Petronas, whose Petronas Carigali subsidiary will retain a 15% interest in Block SK317B. At 250,000 barrels a day produced in 2009, the Asia-Pacific region makes up 11% of Total’s global oil output and 50% of its natural gas total. Its largest presence is in Indonesia.

source & article: Business Times