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More focus on Senegal as Cairn makes new oil discoverey

More oil and gas independents have started to focus on Senegal, the Sene-Gambia  deepwater and Senegal-Guinea Bissau joint development zone propelled by recent oil discoveries in offshore Senegal by Cairn a British –based  company. Cairn discovered oil in offshore Senegal last month and recently made a new discovery of light oil at the SNE-1 well located in 1,100m of deep water- approximately 100km in the Sangomar offshore block.  


Cairn, a new oil and gas company that has no significant asset carries 40% of working interest in three blocks in Senegal which are the Sangomar Deep, Sangomar Offshore and Rufisque.  ConocoPhilips has a 35% working interest in these blocks, First Australian Resources carries a 15% stake and Petrosen , the national oil company of Senegal has 10% working interest stake in these three blocks that totals 7,490 sq km.

The two recent discoveries of oil, according to report from the government of Senegal has given a new hope to this most politically stable francophone African country . It should be recalled that the current president of Senegal, Macky Sall, is a geologist by profession and  from 2000 -  2003 was the director general of Petrosen, the national oil company of Senegal, before his promotion as the minister of mines and energy in 2001 by his predecessor – Abdoulaye Wade.


According to Mamdou Faye, the director general of Petrosen, Senegal will award two offshore oil blocks which are in Senegal’s north offshore by the end of this year. Faye said that Petrosen and the State’s ministry of hydrocarbon are evaluating all bids submitted to get the best for the country. Petrosen also plans to commence its own exploration and production activity in a third block which was reserved for the national oil company which is part of its new strategy to become commercial.


The discovery of oil in Senegal which will soon bring the country to limelight as one of the West African producers began as far back as 1917 when traces of bitumen which were observed in limestone s near Dakar gave hope for the presence of hydrocarbon activity in the country. It was in 1952 that petroleum exploration in Senegal fully commenced when a  program of surface geology, geophysics and stratisgraphic well reconnaissance was conducted by the Bureau de recherché Petrolier (BRP) and resulted in oil and gas shows in well D-4.  Since then exploration activity increase in the country without any significant discovery


Tullow oil started a new exploration phase in Senegal with its first license been from there in 1986 after Tullow was formed in 1985. However, Tullow has not made much success in Senegal.  Today, the light is shining on Senegal the former capital of French West Africa. Senegal is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mali to the east, Mauritania to the north, Guinea and Guinea Bissau to the south and Gambia which is more situated inside Senegal through the 320 kilometers stretch of the Gambian River. The population of Senegal is 12,521,851 and Dakar is the capital city of the nation.   Senegal has a good investment climate and has become more attractive to investors because of its less possession of geopolitical risk in the region.

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