Total, in a deal that includes European counterparts OMV of Austria and Repsol of Spain, reached a deal for exploration in the Khan Asparuh license in the Black Sea.
"In keeping with Total's new dynamic in exploration, this license marks the first time that this type of highly promising play will be explored outside the Atlantic basins," Marc Blaizot, Total's senior vice president for exploration, said in a statement.
"The three partners are very confident in the potential of this new license, which contains a number of both oil and gas prospects."
The license covers about 5,400 square miles about 50 miles off the coast of Bulgaria in water depths of 320-6,500 feet.
Total gave no indication of the reserve potential in the area.
Bulgaria is expected to play a key role as a regional energy hub once competing pipeline projects planned by Russia and Europe get under way.