Cairn returns to second appraisal well off Senegal

Ocean Rig Athena

The second appraisal well to be drilled on the Cairn Energy-operated SNE oil field, 100km offshore Senegal, has been re-entered and will now be drilled to planned total depth.

The SNE-3 well, located approximately 3km south of the initial SNE-1 discovery well, will further evaluate the potential of the SNE oil field.

The SNE-3 well follows the successful first appraisal well at SNE-2. SNE-2 flowed oil at 8,000 bbls per day constrained and estimated at over 10,000 bbls per day on an unconstrained basis. SNE-2 appears to have the same high quality 32 degree API oil seen in SNE-1, FAR Limited, a partner in the project, said on Tuesday.

According to FAR, the oil flows from the SNE-2 drill stem testing (DST) were important in demonstrating that the SNE field is an oil discovery with the ability to flow oil at commercially viable rates as well as highlighting the potential of the upper “heterolithic” reservoir units to make a material contribution to SNE resource and production volumes.

“This positive result has helped confirm the overall scale and extent of the SNE resource base and is expected to support a future revision of the SNE resource estimates,” FAR said.

The SNE-3 well will be drilled in approximately 1,180m of water to a total vertical depth sub-sea (TVDSS) of approximately 2,782m and is expected to include an extensive evaluation program involving coring, logging and flow testing.

SNE-3 was previously drilled to a depth of 1,755 metres by the Ocean Rig Athena prior to the spud of SNE-2. FAR says it expects SNE-3 to reach TD after re-start of drilling and after the completion of coring in the latter part of next month. It is expected wireline logs will then be run followed by a drill stem testing (DST) program. A key aim of the SNE appraisal program is to progress towards proving a minimum economic field size for the SNE discovery, which FAR estimates to be approximately 200 million barrels of recoverable oil as well as determining flow rates for the planning of a future development.

In addition, the BEL-1 well, which will evaluate the untested Buried Hills play to test the Bellatrix exploration prospect, will also appraise the northern portion of the SNE oil field (refer Figures 1, 2). BEL-1 will be drilled after completion of SNE-3.

Senegal JV partners: Cairn Energy PLC (Operator) 40%, ConocoPhillips 35%, FAR 15% and Petrosen 10%.

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