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West Africa drawing oil interest

Australia's FAR Ltd. eyeing basin off the coast of Senegal said to hold 200 million barrels of oil.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Australian energy explorer FAR Ltd. assessing commercial opportunities in basin off the coast of Senegal said to be world class. Image courtesy of FAR Ltd.
Australian energy explorer FAR Ltd. assessing commercial opportunities in basin off the coast of Senegal said to be world class. Image courtesy of FAR Ltd.

MELBOURNE, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- West Africa continues drawing interest from explorers, with Australia's FAR Ltd. announcing the start of work in a basin in Senegal described as world class.

Far Ltd. said it started an appraisal program in three wells in what it categorized as the SNE oil discovery off the coast of Senegal. The company said it was evaluating the potential for commercial operations in a basin said to hold at least 200 million barrels of oil.

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"This drilling program has the potential to create considerable new shareholder value," FAR Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement. "We have high hopes for these three wells which have the potential to prove the SNE field size exceeds the minimum economic threshold, which we estimate at 200 million barrels."

West Africa has drawn interest from international energy companies eager to tap into unexploited reserves. FAR last year started a drilling program in the nearby FAN-1 deepwater basin in Senegal, which the company at the time said could be a game changer for the region.

FAR said the FAN-1 basins may hold up to 1.5 billion barrels of oil.

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Scottish energy company Cairn in November announced its discovery in the deep waters off the coast of Senegal could hold as 670 million barrels of recoverable reserves. Unlike the tough sea conditions in the North Sea or in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore West Africa may be more palatable to energy companies.

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