French oil and gas firm Total has expanded its exploration operations in Mauritania with a new deep offshore license.

The company has signed an exploration and production contract with the Mauritanian government to undertake exploration activities on Block C7, that spans an area of 7,300km2.

Total will operate the offshore block with a 90% stake. Mauritian national oil company, Société Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier (SMHPM) will hold the remainder 10% stake.

Total exploration & production senior vice president for Africa Guy Maurice met with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania Petroleum, Energy and Mines Minister Mohamed Abdel Vetah.

Maurice said: “This agreement is part of Total’s strategy to explore new deepwater basins in Africa. The addition of the C7 block to our existing C9 deepwater license creates a contiguous exploration area of around 17,000 square kilometers in a high-potential zone in offshore Mauritania.”

Total, which has been present in the country for around 20 years, also holds a 90% stake in the C9 exploration license spread across 10,150km2 deep offshore Mauritania.

Besides, it operates the onshore Ta29 exploration block spread across 12,500km2 in the Taoudenni Basin.

Earlier in the month, Total secured two agreements in Senegal to explore the latter’s deepwater potential.

While the first agreement was for the exploration and production sharing for the Rufisque Offshore Profond block, the second was for conducting studies to assess the ultra-deep offshore potential of the country.

Image: Total awarded with a new block license in offshore Mauritania. Photo: courtesy of Total.