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Senegal Greenlights Start Of First Oil Field

Senegal’s government has given the go-ahead to the development at its first oil project, the Sangomar offshore field, operated by Australia’s Woodside Petroleum.

The start of production from the $4.2-billion field, however, is still in the future. The members of the consortium that runs the project have yet to settle some differences.

These, more specifically, center on FAR’s claims that it was denied the right to pre-empt the sale of Conoco’s 35-percent stake in Sangomar to Woodside. FAR is a small Australian player and now a minority shareholder in the Senegalese project. Woodside bought the 35 percent from Conoco for $350 million in 2016. The resolution of the dispute is expected this year, Reuters notes.

Senegal is a relatively minor producer of oil but it could become a larger one once its offshore projects begin producing, which, according to the country’s oil minister, should happen between 2022 and 2026.

While oil was first discovered in the West African country in the early 1960s, in just three years, between 2014 and 2017, explorers tapped about 1 billion barrels of crude and 40 trillion cubic meters of gas. Most of these resources, however, are shared by Senegal and Mauritania.

The IMF, which released the new discovery data, said “Discoveries are important but will not lead to a major transformation of the economy, with hydrocarbons expected to make up not more than 5 percent of GDP.”

Currently, there are two large offshore projects under development in Senegal: the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim gas field, which is operated by BP and Kosmos Energy, and the Sangomar field, previously called SNE. Sangomar should produce some 100,000 bpd once it reaches its full capacity, according to the consortium.

In 2017, FAR, which was conducting seismic exploration at the SNE block reported it may have discovered reserves of up to 1.5 billion barrels of crude, revising an earlier estimate of 641 million barrels. At the time, production was slated to begin in 2022 at a maximum daily rate of 140,000 bpd.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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