New oil prospects unlocked on Cairn’s Senegal acreage

New 3D seismic data interpretation has unlocked “numerous, highly attractive, oil prospects” on the Cairn Energy-operated acreage offshore Senegal. 

Cairn’s partners in three blocks offshore Senegal – Sangomar Deep, Sangomar Offshore, Rufisque Offshore – are ConocoPhillips with 35% working interest, Far Limited with 15%, and Petrosen, the national oil company of Senegal, with 10% interest.

According to Far’s update on Tuesday, the company has identified over 1.5 billion barrels of undrilled oil prospectivity in the acreage offshore Senegal. The increase in undrilled prospective resources has resulted from the interpretation of new 3D seismic data acquired in 2015 that has been integrated with the previous 3D seismic and well data.

Of the 1,563 mmbbls mapped, 234 mmbbls are net to Far. In addition to the undrilled prospects, the 2C recoverable resource in the SNE discovery is 641 mmbbls with 96 mmbbls net to Far.

Far Managing Director, Cath Norman, said: “The prospectivity of Far’s offshore Senegal acreage is extremely exciting. We have approximately 7,500 square kilometers of area under license in Senegal and given success in our discoveries in the FAN-1 and SNE-1 wells and subsequent successful appraisal of the SNE oil field, we know we have a prolific working source rock, excellent reservoir development in the area and a good working seal. The new 3D seismic data has allowed us to get confidence in mapping traps along the extension of the SNE trend and also new plays and prospects in the acreage.

“We are currently drilling SNE-5, the fifth well to appraise the SNE oil field, which will be followed by SNE-6. Because of the relatively low cost of drilling in deepwater at present, our JV has negotiated additional optional drilling slots for the rig. It is likely that one of these exploration targets will be drilled following the current two well campaign, we look forward to keeping shareholders updated as the drilling program progresses.

“Several prospects are located within tie-back distance to a future SNE production hub. These prospects have the potential to deliver high value barrels, because they can be developed quickly and at relatively low cost as a subsea tie-back to SNE infrastructure.”

RISC Operations has completed an updated Independent Resources Report for Far, which highlights that Far has, “a material and robust exploration portfolio, which we expect will be tested in coming years.”

Far stated that four main Senegal exploration plays have been identified based on shelf and basin concepts: the Early Cretaceous Albian Shelf Play houses the SNE oil field; the Sirius and Spica prospects are analogous to the SNE oil field and are located along the shelf edge trend to north of SNE; the Albian Fan Play; the Late Cretaceous Shelf Play; and Central FAN and South Fan are Late Cretaceous Basin canyon fed slope plays.


Subsea tieback potential


An important feature of many of the prospects that make up Senegal prospective resources is their proximity to the SNE oil field, and therefore potential to be connected to an SNE production hub through a subsea tie back system, Far said.

The operator of the Senegal blocks has previously stated that any new discovery located within a 30km radius from the SNE FPSO, would be a candidate for a subsea tie back to an SNE production hub.

Far noted that these potential tie-back prospects have very attractive economics because they contain the second highest NPV barrels after those located within the SNE field because of their relatively low development cost and quick timing to develop through a subsea connection back to a centrally located production hub which eliminates costly duplication of key infrastructure (e.g. FPSO).


Senegal acreage ownership 


Regarding the ownership interest in three blocks offshore Senegal, ConocoPhillips said it completed a transaction for the sale of its shares in ConocoPhillips Senegal BV, which holds a 35 percent interest in these three exploration blocks, to Australia’s Woodside Petroleum in October 2016. Following ConocoPhillips’ announcement, Far in November disputed the sale of assets claiming that pre-emptive rights notice had not been issued to the JV partners by ConocoPhillips.

While both ConocoPhillips and Woodside claim the sale has been completed, Far reiterated on Tuesday that the sale of Senegal assets is still subject to partner pre-emptive rights and Senegal government approval.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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