Shell this week became the latest major to join the search for gas, and potentially oil, offshore Mauritania. On 23 July it signed exploration and production sharing contracts for 90% interests in blocks C-10 and C-19.

It joins BP, operator of the key Tortue gas-to-FLNG project straddling the maritime border with Senegal as well as four Mauritanian deepwater exploration blocks. Total took two deepwater blocks last year, whilst Exxon in December signed PSCs for three deepwater blocks (MEES,...