Africa - focused independent FAR announced a farm-out of its 65% stake in three Senegalese blocks to Cairn Energy . Under the agreement , which must still be approved by the Senegalese government, Cairn will fund exploration costs , including planned drilling up to a cap of US$80mn and will also repay FAR for US$9.8mn in previous expense. The country's national oil company (NOC) Petrosen will retain a 10% interest.
Cairn , which has sought to refocus its efforts after a problematic exploration campaig n offshore Greenland, plans to drill an exploration well offshore Senegal in 2014. This will add to Cairn's interest in the region, with up to four well s planned in the company's acreage offshore Morocco in the same year.
Cairn will move into three deepwater blocks - Rufisque, Sangomar and Sangomar Deep - within the Mauritania-Senegal-Guinea-Bissau basin. FAR has identified 11 potentially drillable prospects in the existing acreage, with unrisked prospective resource estimates of 58-632mn barrel s (bb l) of oil - in -place . Existing 3D seismic data on the blocks puts total prospective unrisked resources at 6.6bn bbl of oil-in- place. In a move that could help de-risk Senegal's deepwater , African Petroleum plans to spud an exploration well on the Alhamduillah prospect in 2013 , which FAR notes extends into the company's existing Senegalese blocks. FAR estimates the chances of a discovery in Senegal range from 11-38%.
|Low Estimate||Best Estimate||High Estimate|
|Prospect||Play||Oil (mn bbl)||Oil (mn bbl)||Oil (mn bbl)|
|Prospects defined on 3D seismic|
|Lupalupa||Albian Shelf Edge||40||154||491|
|Alhamdulillah North||Salt Anticline||76||252||639|
|South Canyon||Slope Fans||135||439||1,137|
|Central Canyon||Slope Fans||180||612||1,591|
|North Canyon||Slope Fans||83||304||848|
|Total - Gross||1,022||3,585||8,571|
Senegal is the latest West African country to benefit from rising interest and investment targeting exploration of hydrocarbon plays along the Atlantic margin. However, the upside of potential oil production in Senegal is notable given the absence of existing oil production and on ly small volumes of gas output. Indeed , with a relatively diversified and consumer- focused economy, domestic hydrocarbon s production could help cut the country's energy imports. Indeed, with street protests in 2011 in response to power cuts, the country is hoping new discoveries can help ease current energy shortfalls.
New investment into offshore oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) is a priority for the government, which has been actively courting oil and gas firms in bid to capitalise on strong interest West Africa 's hydrocarbon prospectivity.