Mauritania announces oil exploration boost with Total

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Mauritania has signed an agreement with French oil group Total to explore for oil at sea and to extract any oil discovered, the official Mauritanian information agency reported on Monday.

Exploration, marking an effort to boost the national oil sector, would be carried out in the coastal basin of deep waters in the Atlantic Ocean, the agency reported.

The agreement was signed on Sunday by Mauritanian Oil Minister Taleb Ould Abdival and Total managing director Pierre Desvoges.

Ould Abdival said that the agreement had been reached in the context of relaunching investment in the Mauritanian oil sector.

He said that the contract "the first of its type in the deep-water zone off-shore in Mauritania, serves the interests of the two sides."

Total is already involved in drilling for oil inland in the Taoudenni basin in the northeast of the country.

The Malaysian company Petronas is already producing oil off the shores of Mauritania but the production capacity has fallen from 30,000 barrels per day in 2006 to less than 8,000 barrels per day now, in contrast to forecast output of 75,000 barrels per day.

© 2011 AFP

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