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    Total Grabs 2nd Mauritania Block


Total said May 12 it has signed an exploration and production contract for Mauritania’s 7,300 km2 offshore Block C7, its second in the country.

by: Mark Smedley

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Africa, Corporate, Exploration & Production, News By Country, Mauritania, Senegal

Total Grabs 2nd Mauritania Block

Total said May 12 it has signed an exploration and production contract for Mauritania’s 7,300 km²  offshore Block C7, its second in the country.

The French major will have a 90% interest alongside Mauritania’s state-owned SMHPM on 10%.

It’s the second catch-up move this month alone by Total to get into a northwest African offshore hot spot region – with close ties to France – where a partnership of Kosmos-BP has already made most of the running in the past three years.

The US-UK duo this week said it had made its sixth successful discovery in the region with its Yakaar-1 gas find off Senegal believed to be the largest hydrocarbon find to date in 2017.

That sense of Total's flat-footedness is compounded by the fact that  a giant 10,357 km² offshore Senegal block assigned last week to Total is still claimed by African Petroleum, 21.4%-owned by Romanian-Australian Frank Timis.

Speaking about the award of Mauritania's C7, Total E&P's senior vice president Guy 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 km² in a high-potential zone in offshore Mauritania." His remarks followed a meeting with Mauritanian petroleum minister Mohamed Abdel Vetah.

Vetah confimed the award to Total in a Mauritanian cabinet communique on May 11.

C7 was previously licensed to Dana Petroleum, a wholly owned subsidiary of Korean National Oil Corporation (KNOC) of South Korea, and includes the Pelican-1 gas find. But the block is no longer shown on KNOC's website. Dana and partner Tullow are understood to have since relinquished C7.

Tullow though says a new 3D survey is planned on its Mauritania offshore Blocks C3 and C10 this year; it also holds interests in block C18, and the Area B production sharing agreement which includes the near-depleted Chinguetti oilfield, also offshore.

Total has not responded about the award of the contested 10,357 km³ Rufisque Offshore Profond block in Senegal, which happened in the same week that that country's energy minister was abruptly dismissed.


Mark Smedley