Brazil's congress has approved a measure to give private companies a larger role in exploring one of the world's largest oil and gas reserves.

The bill would remove a requirement that state oil company Petrobras must have at least a 30-percent share in any operation in the massive off-shore reserve located off the southern coast between the states of Santa Catarina to Espirito Santo.

The measure has been approved by the Senate and lower house of Congress, which sent it on Thursday to President Michel Temer. He is expected to sign it.

Petrobras backs the change. The company is restructuring in the wake of a massive corruption scandal.

The so-called pre-salt reserve produces around 1 million barrels per day.