Malaysian oil and gas company Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) said on Monday it has acquired a 30% stake in Senegal’s Rufisque Offshore Profond block, its first project in the West African nation.

Oil major Total will maintain operatorship of the block with a 60% ownership, Petronas said in a statement.

The block is located in the vicinity of significant recent oil and gas discoveries, it said, and exploration drilling activities will begin in the block in 2019.

Petronas said taking the stake is part of an upstream strategy “to grow its exploration portfolio in West Africa, where it is operator of an ultra-deep water block in Gabon and currently looking to explore further in the region.”