Ocean Rig Athena drillship en route to Senegal

The Ocean Rig Athena drillship has been mobilized from Luanda, Angola in preparation for the appraisal and exploration drilling program for Cairn Energy and its joint venture (JV) partners offshore Senegal.

The SNE discovery made in late 2014 will be appraised with the first two wells in the three well drilling program for which the Ocean Rig Athena, a 7th generation dual activity drillship, has been selected for.

FAR, a partner in the JV, said on Monday: “SNE was ranked by IHS CERA as the world’s largest oil discovery for 2014 and a key aim of the appraisal program will be proving the threshold economic field size which FAR estimates is in the order of 200 mmbbls for a foundation project.”

According to FAR, the firm drilling program will include a coring and testing program, two appraisal wells for SNE (SNE-2 and SNE-3) plus one shelf exploration well (BEL-1) to further evaluate the shelf area prospectivity.

Furthermore, the three wells will be drilled, logged, cored and tested in a program expected to be completed by mid-2016. BEL-1 will be the first exploration well to be drilled in the blocks following the discoveries in the FAN-1 and SNE-1 wells. FAR said this well would be aimed at building the resource base within tie-back range of a possible future hub development over the SNE field. It will be drilled into the Bellatrix Prospect which has been mapped by FAR to contain 168 mmbbls of oil on a gross, unrisked, prospective resource basis with 25 mmbbls net to FAR.

Following the discovery of the SNE field on the shelf, FAR has applied a 49% chance of geological success to the Bellatrix prospect. The well will be deepened to appraise the northern extent of the SNE field so has a key, dual role in the drilling program, FAR has said.

FAR Managing Director Cath Norman said: “Following last year’s incredibly successful drilling program and the encouraging geological work carried out since making our two world-class discoveries, FAR looks forward to the commencement of our appraisal of the SNE field and building value through the drill bit over the coming months.” 

Cairn has a 40% Working Interest in three blocks offshore Senegal (Sangomar Deep, Sangomar Offshore and Rufisque), ConocoPhillips has 35%, FAR Ltd 15% and Petrosen, the national oil company of Senegal 10%.

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