MELBOURNE, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- An oil field off the coast of Senegal is considered a commercial prospect with a capacity to produce 140,000 barrels of oil per day, an Australian company said.
Australian energy company FAR Ltd. said the SNE oil field met the minimum threshold to be considered commercial. The company said the best estimate of contingent resources was around 200 million barrels offshore Senegal.
"FAR's recently released third upgrade to the SNE oil field contingent resources and preparation of a detailed concept development plan supports FAR's view that SNE is a world class oil field that can support a commercial development," Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement.
With that, FAR said development planning for the SNE field is under way and the prospect is now at the very early stages of engineering and design. For production, a floating production storage and offloading concept is envisioned with a peak production rate of 140,000 barrels of oil per day.
The Senegalese development comes at a time when energy companies are reviewing their portfolio options against a price for crude oil that's less than half what it was two years ago. FAR said, however, that offshore costs have declined more than 20 percent since 2014.
"The project is well positioned to benefit from cost deflation," its project statement read. "Development and operating costs estimates for the concept development are relatively low, making the break-even oil price very competitive in the current oil price environment at less than $40 per barrel."
Cairn Energy, the operator of the field, said it plans to spend about half of its $135 million target for future exploration and appraisal on drilling activity in Senegal. FAR said the first phase of operations called for up to 25 wells with further appraisal efforts slated for later this year.
For Senegal itself, the International Monetary Fund said the economy is stable and supportive of a growth rate of around 6 percent. The government needs to ensure future growth is inclusive, the IMF said, as poverty rates run high in a country that could be on the cusp of becoming a major regional oil production.
Oil production could start by early next decade, FAR said.