Aerial view of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading Vessel (FSPO) oil platform, operating at Santos basin exploration unit of Pre-Salt off the coast of Brazil. Photo: AFP / Mauro Pimentel

A consortium of Japanese energy firms said on Tuesday that they’ve agreed to become long-term investors in a so-called floating production facility designed to tap Brazil’s vast offshore pre-salt oil deposits.

UPI quotes Japanese energy company Marubeni as saying it has teamed up with floating production contractor MODEC, and Japanese transport company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines to invest in a long-term charter business “for the purpose of providing a floating production, storage and offloading system for use in the Sepia area offshore Brazil.”

Much of Brazil’s oil from offshore basins are buried under a thick layer of salt on the sea floor. But offshore drillers have been able to break through the salt crust in recent years. UPI reports that output from pre-salt basins has accelerated since 2009 as exploration and production technology acclimates to the region’s tough conditions.