May 18 (UPI) -- Operators drilling for oil offshore Senegal said they have enough data to start preparations for submitting development plans to the government next year.
Cairn Energy, which has a controlling interest in some of the operations in the oil basins off the coast of Senegal, said oil flowed from its SNE-6 appraisal well, which also proved it was connected to other wells in the series.
"This is our ninth successful well in Senegal in three years," Cairn Energy Chief Executive Simon Thomson said in a statement.
The initial oil discovery at the SNE field was made in 2014 and the find was quickly lauded as one of the largest. By the estimates of the companies involved, more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil may be in basins off the coast of Senegal. The SNE oil field met the minimum threshold to be considered a commercial opportunity by the third quarter of 2016.
Cairn, which has headquarters in Edinburgh, leads a joint venture targeting oil opportunities off the coast of Senegal. The Scottish company said most of the wells offshore Senegal have been completed ahead of schedule and under budget since operations began in 2014.
Cath Norman, the managing director at minority partner FAR Ltd., said an SNE appraisal program designed to prove the opportunity is worth it has been a success.
"The joint venture now has the essential data to progress with pre-development work and plan to submit a SNE field development plan to the government of Senegal in 2018," she said in a separate statement.
FAR in particular is focused on the broader Mauritania-Senegal-Guinea-Bissau basin, which has boasted at least eight oil discoveries so far. The final investment decision for the development of the SNE field is expected by 2019.