The company will assign its entire 40.5% interest in the production-sharing contract (PSC) to operator Tullow Mauritania. Societe Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier holds the remaining 10%.
Block C-3 covers roughly 9,800 sq km (3,784 sq mi). In 2014, a year after the PSC award, the operator commissioned a 1,600-km (994-mi) 2D seismic survey.
Sterling believes the results have not sufficiently de-risked the block potential to justify entering Phase 2 work commitments of 700 sq km (270 sq mi) of 3D seismic and drilling of one well.
However, the company remains committed to nearby block C-10, where operator Tullow plans the first well during 2017.