Total announced that it has signed an oil and gas exploration deal offshore Mauritania. The agreement will expand Total’s search scope for new fields in the deep waters off West Africa’s Atlantic coast, Reuters reported.

As informed on Rigzone, the deal with Mauritania’s state-run oil company SMHPM will allow Total to hold a 90% operating stake in Block C7, which covers 7,300 square km, and SMHPM will hold the remaining 10%.

Earlier in May, Total revealed that it had purchased a 90% stake in the deepwater Rufisque Offshore Profond Block in neighboring African country Senegal, as oil majors are starting to show greater interest in the largely untapped region.

Total Exploration and Production’s Senior Vice President of Africa, Guy Maurice, stated that the agreement is part of the company’s strategy to explore new deepwater basins in Africa.

In recent years, oil firms like Cairn Energy and Kosmos Energy have been able to report a series of successful finds offshore Senegal and Mauritania, highlighting the value of the region when it comes to oil and gas exploration and potentially enhancing both countries’ impoverished economies.