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Total S.A. said Monday it received approval from the South African government to complete its acquisition of a 50% interest in Block 11B/12B, from CNR International (South Africa) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Natural Resources Limited.

The asset is located in the Outeniqua Basin, around 175 kilometers off the southern coast of the country, and covers an area of 19,000 square kilometers with water depths ranging from 200 to 1,800 meters.

Total also becomes Operator of Block 11B/12B and will drill an exploration well on the Block in 2014.

“Our acquisition in this extensive frontier exploration asset demonstrates our determination to establish ourselves in new plays. South Africa’s deep offshore, in particular the Outeniqua Basin, is one of the few remaining under-explored offshore regions in Africa,” said Marc Blaizot, Senior Vice President, Exploration at Total.

French major Total has been in South Africa since 1954 and is now the country’s fifth-ranked marketer, with sales of 3.1 million tons of products each year, a network of 528 service stations, its biggest outside Europe, and a 36.6% interest in the Natref refinery alongside Sasol.

Total is also South Africa’s third-ranked LPG marketer and fifth-ranked coal exporter.