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Cairn strikes black gold offshore Senegal

"We have encountered a very substantial oil bearing interval which may have significant potential as a standalone discovery," Cairn Energy Chief Executive Officer Simon Thomson said in a statement.

By Daniel J. Graeber

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Energy companies working off the coast of Senegal announced Tuesday a significant discovery of oil, with at least 250 million barrels in place.

Cairn Energy and its consortium partners announced the discovery in the deep waters located about 60 miles off the coast of Senegal.

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"We have encountered a very substantial oil bearing interval which may have significant potential as a standalone discovery," Cairn Energy Chief Executive Officer Simon Thomson said in a statement.

The Scottish company estimated the reserve potential to be at least 250 million barrels. Joint venture partners in the offshore program said they were working to develop a full appraisal and exploration program for the so-called FAN prospect.

Work is slated for 2015. Cairn said it was looking forward to working with the Senegalese government and its partners to realize the full potential of the find off the country's western coast.

Cairn in January said frontier basins off the Senegalese coast were key components of its exploration agenda for 2014.

West Africa has drawn interest from international energy companies eager to tap into unexploited reserves.

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