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Cairn makes second oil find offshore Senegal

Joint venture partners say find likely has commercial potential.

By Daniel J. Graeber

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Scottish energy company Cairn and its partners said they've made a major oil discovery in the deep waters off the coast of Senegal, their second this year.

Cairn is the operator of well SNE-1, located about 60 miles off the coast of Senegal in deep waters. The company said it ran into a 311 foot column of oil and estimates the discovery holds as much as 670 million barrels of recoverable reserves.

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Cairn Energy Chief Executive Simon Thomson said the discovery is significant enough to move ahead with an appraisal program next year.

"Cairn has additional prospects and leads that offer further exploration potential across this large acreage position in West Africa," he said in a statement.

Cairn is a member of a joint venture that includes FAR Ltd., which said in a separate statement the discovery in SNE-1 is "highly likely to be a commercial discovery."

West Africa has drawn interest from international energy companies eager to tap into unexploited reserves and for Cairn, this is the second discovery off the coast of Senegal this year.

Joint venture partners working in the so-called FAN prospect announced a discovery of at least 250 million barrels last month.

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

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