French energy company Total SA (NYSE: TOT) has strengthened its position in Mauritania by winning contracts for two new exploration blocks.
"Total and the Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mines of Mauritania have signed an agreement awarding Total two new exploration and production contracts for Blocks C15 and C31 deep offshore Mauritania, covering an area of 14,175 square kilometers," Total said in a statement on Dec. 12.
According to the terms of the contracts, Total will be the operator of these two blocks with a 90% interest alongside the Société Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier (SMHPM) holding the remaining 10%.
Total has been present in Mauritania for nearly 20 years and considers the basin to be "one of the most promising" of its Africa acreage, according to the company release. The company increased its exploration in the country last year through the acquisition of two new deep offshore licenses, the Block C7 (with a 90% participating interest) in May 2017 and the Block C18 (with a 45% participating interest) in August 2017.
Total also operates the deep offshore C9 license (with a 90% participating interest) where it plans to drill a well in 2019, according to its exploration program.
Editor's note: Reuters contributed to this article.