March 20 (UPI) -- After making an upward revision to the reserve estimate offshore Senegal, Australia's FAR Ltd. said a final investment decision is expected next year.
FAR Ltd. and its joint venture partners announced the completion of a geotechnical 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.
With 11 successful wells drilled to date, FAR Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement the revision is a testament to the "fantastic opportunity" offshore Senegal.
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.
The initial oil discovery at the SNE field was made in 2014 and the find was quickly lauded as one of the largest. The SNE oil field, which counts Cairn Energy as a partner, met the minimum threshold to be considered a commercial opportunity by the third quarter of 2016.
The joint venture partners in early 2018 agreed on a development concept that includes the use of a floating production and storage offtake vessel for SNE development. Last week, services company Wood, an offshoot of Amec Foster Wheeler and Wood Group, was awarded contracts to provide studies on the SNE field off the coast of Senegal by Australian energy company Woodside Petroleum, a regional partner.
Woodside acquired a 65 percent interest in a production-sharing contract offshore Senegal and Guinea-Bissau in 2016. That deal alone meant the company increased its best estimate of contingent resources by 230 percent.
FAR said it expects the government to sign off on a development plan by the end of the year and make a final investment decision on SNE by 2019.