CHEVRON has farmed-into a three fields offshore Mauritania, currently operated by US-based Kosmos Energy.

The agreement will see Chevron take a 30 per cent stake in the C8, C12 and C13 contract areas, subject to government approval.

The blocks cover an area of about 2.7 million hectares, in water depths ranging from 1,600 metres to 3,000 metres.

In exchange, Chevron will pay what Kosmos called a “disproportionate share of the costs of one exploration well and a second contingent exploration well, subject to maximum expenditure caps.”

Chevron will also pay its proportionate share of previously incurred exploration costs, Kosmos said.

Kosmos’ 2015 exploration work program in Mauritania currently includes two wells to be drilled by the Atwood Achiever drillship.

The first exploration well will test the Tortue prospect, with estimated resources of about 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent recoverable across both Mauritania and Senegal.

Chevron will not initially fund drilling of the nearby Tortue prospect, but retains the option to participate in this prospect after the transaction is completed, the companies said.

A second exploration well will test the Marsouin prospect with estimated resources of about 300 million barrels of oil equivalent recoverable.

Kosmos will retain a 60% operating stake in the blocks under the deal, while the Société Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier (SMHPM), Mauritania’s national oil company, will keep its 10% interest.

However, should a commercial discovery be made after the exploration phase, Chevron will become the operator, maintaining its 30% working interest.

Kosmos chief executive Andrew G. Inglis said the agreement validated the quality of the company’s Mauritania licences, which he said enabled it to farm out the acreage despite a difficult environment.

“The terms are consistent with our business strategy of retaining operatorship through exploration and collaborating with industry leading partners who bring significant technical expertise and strong financial capabilities,” he said.