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Australian Driller Finds 1.5B Barrels Off Senegal Coast

Senegal Oil Tanker

Australian exploration company FAR announced it had discovered more than 1.5 billion barrels of crude off the coast of Senegal, as a result of a 3D seismic study. The figure, FAR said, was 50 percent higher than the estimate from an earlier review of the reserves in the SNE field.

Of the total, FAR’s share is a net 234 million barrels, proportionate to its 15 percent in the project, which spans three deepwater blocks offshore the West African country.

Last month, the company estimated SNE’s reserves at 641 million barrels of oil, saying that the place was “one of the world's most attractive emerging basins for oil and gas exploration.” Production is set to start by 2022, with a maximum daily yield of 140,000 barrels.

According to the Australian company, which is currently drilling a fifth appraisal well in the area, once commercial-scale production begins, output will rise fast because of low drilling and production costs.

Senegal is attracting much attention from the oil industry: a couple of weeks ago Cairn Energy announced it was preparing for the launch of its third drilling program in the country’s shelf, after making two substantial discoveries in the area three years ago. SNE was one of these, and Cairn’s estimates of the field’s recoverable reserves were between 274 and 900 million barrels.

Related: Oil Prices Fall Ahead Of Inventory Data

BP is also eyeing Senegal’s offshore oil: last month the company said it had struck a deal with Kosmos Energy to acquire its 32.49-percent stake in two offshore blocks there. BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley referred to the area, including Mauritania’s shelf, as “an emerging world-class hydrocarbon basin.”

The SNE field is developed by a joint venture with Cairn as operator with 40 percent, FAR has 15 percent, ConocoPhillips has 35 percent, and Senegal’s state oil company Petrosen has 10 percent.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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