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Woodside wades into West African basins

Australian company said it's betting on new acreage despite industry downturn.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Woodside Petroleum takes on the role of operator at newly-acquired acreage in the deep waters off the coast of Africa. Map courtesy of Woodside Petroleum
Woodside Petroleum takes on the role of operator at newly-acquired acreage in the deep waters off the coast of Africa. Map courtesy of Woodside Petroleum

PERTH, Australia, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Despite reporting weakness during the sector downturn, Australia's Woodside Petroleum said it acquired new exploration acreage off the West African coast.

Regional subsidiary Woodside Energy (Senegal), for undisclosed conditions, acquired a 65 percent interest in a production sharing contract offshore Senegal and Guinea-Bissau from Impact Oil & Gas.

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Woodside will move into a position of operator at deepwater sites covering about 2,500 square miles. CEO Peter Coleman said in a statement the acquisition aligns with adding high-quality acreage to the company's portfolio.

"This builds on recent acquisitions in Cameroon, Gabon and Morocco and reflects our disciplined and strategic approach to studying regional petroleum systems," he said.

West Africa has drawn interest from international energy companies eager to tap into unexploited reserves. Scottish energy company Cairn said one of its discoveries in the deep waters off the coast of Senegal could hold up to 670 million barrels of recoverable reserves.

Woodside, Australia's largest independent oil and gas company, this week reported net income of around $26 million last year was down roughly 90 percent from the $2.4 billion recorded in 2014. Proved plus probable reserves, meanwhile, climbed more than 10 percent to around 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

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