The Mauritanian government has awarded French energy group Total two new exploration and production contracts in the country’s deep offshore.
According to the terms of the contracts, Total will be the operator of blocks C15 and C31 with a 90-percent interest, while Mauritania’s state-owned energy firm Société Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier (SMHPM) will hold the remaining 10-percent stakes.
The two new blocks bring Total’s total block participation offshore Mauritania to five exploration licenses in this emerging hydrocarbons basin, the French company said.
“This agreement contributes to the implementation of Total’s strategy that aims to explore basins in proven yet underexplored petroleum systems,” Arnaud Breuillac, President Exploration & Production at Total, said in a statement.
“The addition of these new blocks to our existing positions demonstrates our commitment to the development of the Mauritanian oil sector and will enhance Total’s presence in West Africa, one of the Group’s core exploration areas.”
Total also holds exploration permits in Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, and “the Mauritanian basin remains one of the most promising,” according to the French group, which plans to drill a well on one of its five blocks offshore Mauritania next year.
Total has been present in Mauritania for nearly 20 years. The Group is the only oil and gas major active in the marketing of petroleum products in the country, with a retail network of 38 gas stations.