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Mauritania: Block C-10

Location Nouakchott sub-basin (Northern MSGBC Basin)
Area 8,025 km²
Sterling Equity 13.5%

Tullow 76.5% (Operator), Société Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures et du Patrimoine Minier (“SMHPM”) 10%

Licence Overview

Block C-10 lies in the centre of the Nouakchott sub-basin, offshore Mauritania, part of the larger Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Conakry basin and covers an area of approximately 8,025 km² with water depths ranging from 50m to 2,400m.

The production sharing contract (PSC) for Block C-10 is held by Sterling Energy Mauritania Limited (13.5% working interest), Tullow (76.5% working interest and operator) and SMHPM (10% working interest)*. SMHPM is carried by Sterling and Tullow, pro-rata to their working interest, during the exploration phases. The PSC is in the second phase of the exploration period, which runs to November 2017, with a minimum work commitment of one well

During 2014, the C-10 Joint venture reprocessed the extensive legacy 3D datasets covering the majority of the Block with the aim of mature and rank the prospect inventory ahead of the exploration well commitment. Since 2014, Kosmos Energy has discovered and appraised in deep water block C-8, immediately outboard of C-10, several world class LNG scale gas discoveries of Albian to Cenomanian age, with the Tortue West (Ahmeyim) structure alone reported to have Pmean gas resources of ca.15 Tcf. In 2017, Kosmos and new partner BP have continued exploration within the Cenomanian/Albian play with a focus on proving an oil fairway adjacent to the northwestern boundary of the C-10 block, through the drilling of 3 further high impact exploration wells following the Yakaar discovery in May 2017.

Tullow Oil and the JV are in discussions with SMHPM and the Ministry with regards to the appropriate future path on the C-10 block, with a view to securing an extension and recognising that a well will not be drilled prior to the current Phase 2 expiry in November 2017.


Block C-10 lies in an area of proven hydrocarbons and encompasses the Chinguetti, Banda, Tiof and Tevet discoveries. These Miocene discoveries made in 2000 to 2003, led to a phase of exploration exclusively targeting the Miocene play. To date the Lower Cretaceous and Jurassic plays remain under explored with only 4 wells in the basin evaluating the full Cretaceous section.

Sterling's regional work has identified that the Lower Cretaceous and Jurassic potential in C-10 offer exposure to a newly emerging play with recent discoveries in the basin in the Kosmos deepwater acreage west of C-10 and to the south in Senegal. The petroleum system has been de-risked on-block with clear evidence of a working petroleum system in the Cretaceous.

The operator has matured a drill ready prospect (Lamina) in the Lower Cretaceous Neocomian section targeting a carbonate build-up on the shelf margin. Lamina illustrates compelling internal seismic facies and geometries indicating possible carbonate reservoir presence and will be the target of the commitment well in the current phase. Lamina is covered by good quality, reprocessed and well imaged 3D seismic data. The gross cost of the well is anticipated at $77m ($11.55m net to SEML). Should the joint venture not fulfil the minimum work obligation, the joint venture’s gross liability to the Government would be $7.5m ($1.125m net to SEML).