UK-based Sterling Energy Mauritania (SEML) has completed its previously announced acquisition of 40.5% interest in the production sharing contract (PSC) for Block C-3 located offshore in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania from Tullow.

The PSC is 49.5% owned by Tullow (Operator), 40.5% owned by SEML and the remaining 10% is held by Société Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier (SMHPM).

Awarded in 2013, the PSC is in the first phase of the exploration period and covers Block C-3, offshore Mauritania, consisting of an area of about 9,800km².

"We will further de-risk the block with the new 2D data to allow consideration of entry to the next phase."

This phase is set to expire on 30 June 2016.

Tullow is in the process of assessing 1,600km of 2D seismic, which it acquired in 2014.

According to Sterling Energy, completion of the acquisition in addition to processing of the 2D seismic data represents the minimum work obligation during the initial phase.

The joint venture (JV) will have an option to enter into second and third phases each with a three year term with a minimum work obligation of 700km² of 3D seismic and one well, and one well, respectively, upon completion of this phase.

During the PSC exploration period, both companies will carry SMHPM’s 10% interest proportionally.

Sterling Energy chief executive officer Eskil Jersing said: "We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Tullow and SMHPM in the C-3 block in addition to the recent C-10 entry.

"We will further de-risk the block with the new 2D data to allow consideration of entry to the next phase."