Oil and Gas Opportunities Boom in Senegal
After about 50 years of oil exploration with little or no success, the tide turned favorably for Senegal, the Francophone West African country at the end of 2014. Cairn the Scottish Oil & Gas Company and its JV partners operating in Senegal made discoveries in the 2 wells they drilled. Since the discoveries made in Senegal in FAN -1 exploration well in the Sangomar deep offshore block and SNE-1 in Sangomar offshore block, Senegal has become a beehive of oil and gas activities and a nascent global industry bride. The discoveries made in SNE-1 Sangomer Offshore were ranked by IHS CERA as the largest global oil discovery in 2014.
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 have 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. January 2016, Kosmos Energy a US firm discovered what it described as largest gas field in West Africa in its Guembeul-1 exploration well, off the coast of Senegal and Mauritania. Cairn made further discoveries its SNE-2 well in Sangomar Offshore block and another major find in SNE-s which promises a daily production of 4,000 barrels of crude oil.
According to Mamodou 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.
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, 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 Gunea 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.
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.