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Shell is in the early stages of exploring for hydrocarbons off Mauritania, northwest Africa. In July 2018, Shell Exploration and Production Mauritania B.V. (Shell) signed a production sharing contract with the Mauritanian government for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the C-10 offshore block. The block lies about 55 km west of the coastal area near the capital, Nouakchott. Shell is the operator, with a 90% stake, and Société Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures (SMH), the National Oil Company of Mauritania, holds a 10% stake.