FAR Ltd. said drilling began at the offshore exploration well, FAN-1, in the deep waters off the Senegalese coast. A second well is expected immediately after FAN-1 operations are completed and the Australian explorer said they're the first offshore wells targeting deep Senegalese waters in more than 20 years.
"We have high hopes for these two wells which have the potential to be company makers for FAR," Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement. "Of course exploration has its risks but we are confident that FAR can maximize the value from these two exploration wells."
FAR said the targeted area may hold as much as 1.5 billion barrels of oil.
FAR is a minority shareholder in the region. Its majority partners are Cairn Energy and ConocoPhillips.
Cairn, serving as an operator, said in January frontier basins off the Senegalese and Moroccan coasts were key components of its exploration agenda for 2014.
West Africa has drawn interest from international energy companies eager to tap into unexploited reserves.