Cairn moving toward first barrels of oil from Senegal

The SNE oil field met the minimum threshold to be considered a commercial opportunity two years ago and could be producing as early as 2021.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  May 15, 2018 at 5:53 AM
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May 15 (UPI) -- Tenders for the floating infrastructure that will help add new barrels of oil to the market from Senegal are expected by month's end, Cairn Energy said.

Cairn is leading the development of the SNE oil field off the coast of Senegal. Joint venture partners in March completed a study of a 2,900 square mile permit area off the coast of Senegal that includes the flagship SNE oil discovery. The results revealed another 198 million barrels to the estimated 641 million barrels in the best estimate scenario of contingent reserves.

"We have now fully appraised the world class SNE field and have selected our field development concept, targeting first oil between 2021 and 2023," Simon Thomson, the CEO of Cairn, said in his address at the company's annual general meeting.

The broader West African basin is gaining a reputation as an emerging producer and Senegal in particular could hold more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil off its coast. Tenders for the floating production storage and offloading vessel to be used at SNE should be received by Cairn at the end of the month.

Closer to home, Thomson said the company has a "drill-ready portfolio" in British and Norwegian waters that contains more than 1 billion barrels of unrisked reserves, meaning they have a reasonable certainty of being produced.

While Norway is one of the world's leading producers, British waters in the North Sea have faced a period of decline due to field maturation. Cairn holds a 20 percent working interest in the Catcher basin and, combined with North Sea field Kraken, the company said it was performing on time and under budget.

"Both developments are ramping up to achieve full capacity production by mid-year with about 17,000 to 20,000 barrels of oil per day expected to Cairn over this year, with production continuing to grow into 2019," Thomson said.

Cairn posted $86 million in cash as of Dec. 31. First-half results are expected Sept. 11.

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