Senegal’s oil success may embolden Gambia’s faith

The successful testing this month of Cairn Energy’s SNE-2 appraisal well on the Sangomar Deep licence off Senegal has been hailed as a breakthrough after sustained efforts in past years to prove up real prospectivity in this part of West Africa’s Atlantic Margin.


Upstream newspaper reported that drillstem tests proved the ability of SNE’s reservoirs to flow at commercially viable rates and Cairn chief executive Simon Thomson is eager to get going with the next delineation probe.

Results to date have helped confirm the scale and extent of the resource base, which reaches out towards the Sangomar Deep, and further derisks outlying structures such as Cairn’s Fan discovery to the north and the massive Alhamdulillah prospect straddling the maritime border with Gambia.

Erin Energy Corporation that holds one of The Gambia’s oil license for one of the country’s prospective oil wells has announced last year September that they have successfully completed acquisition of a new 3D seismic survey off the coast of The Gambia.

The press release revealed that the survey covered approximately 1,613 square kilometres on Erin Energy controlled A2 and A5 blocks following which the company was expected to commence processing and interpretation of the data, with results expected to be available during the second quarter of 2016.

However, until such concrete evidences are found following the data interpretation, it remains a suspicion whether the blocks has an oil reserve or not.

Meanwhile, the Upstream reported that the terms and conditions have been loosened by Senegal to attract new suitors — the country had a hard time getting companies to drill over the past decade after earlier probes proved disappointing, but that has all changed now.

The successes logged by Cairn have revived faith in the wider play, awkwardly dubbed the MSGBC basin after the littoral states.

This has ignited a surge of interest in an arc of available acreage from Western Sahara to the Bijagos Islands off Guinea-Bissau, and a fully dedicated industry summit and exhibition will be held in Dakar next November to match suitors with promoters from Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.

Kosmos Energy’s huge Tortue gas discovery off Mauritania, but which extends into Senegalese waters, has added further lustre to this basin.

A revamp of Senegal’s Hydrocarbon Code is under way, but it would be unwise for the country at this stage to impose stricter financial terms or introduce onerous local content provisions even before a field is declared commercial.

Better rather to concentrate on state oil company Petrosen’s ability to participate in the offshore development arena.

Petrosen already has an enviable, albeit modest, track record operating onshore gas fields whose output is fed to local industries.





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