New Oil Discoveries Are Drawing Supermajors To This Drilling Hotspot

Senegal, a West African country which has seen several major oil and gas discoveries in recent years, is launching a new licensing round to award three offshore blocks as it expects its first already sanctioned oil and gas projects to come online by the middle of the next decade.

“We are launching today for the first time in the history of petroleum exploration in Senegal a licensing round of three blocks of sediment basin,” Reuters quoted Senegalese Oil and Energy Minister Mahamadou Makhtar Cisse as saying at an oil conference in South Africa.

The licensing round will be promoted at international oil conferences in London, Houston, and Dakar during a first phase of the process, while energy companies will be able to evaluate the blocks’ potential between the end of January and end of July 2020, the minister noted.

In recent years, Senegal has seen a lot of predominantly natural gas discoveries offshore, most of which shared with neighboring Mauritania.

Experts think that the country, a rare island of stability in West Africa, can escape the ‘resource curse’ that has plagued other African oil and gas producers such as Angola or Nigeria.

The U.S. helps Senegal defend against extremists, and sees the country as “this island of stability and prosperity and security,” Counterterrorism Coordinator Ambassador Nathan Sales told VOA this week.

In Senegal and Mauritania, BP and its partners announced in December 2018 the final investment decision for the cross-border liquefied natural gas (LNG) development Greater Tortue Ahmeyim.

Cairn Energy said in September that it expects to take FID on the SNE development in Senegal this year, and the project remains on schedule for first oil in 2022.

Last month, BP announced a major gas discovery offshore Mauritania, in the MSGBC (Mauritania-Senegal-Gambia-Bissau-Conakry) basin. Rystad Energy estimated this discovery is the deepest and largest gas discovery so far this year.

“Mauritania and Senegal are slowly becoming world-class LNG centers, with three different planned hubs containing around 10 million tonnes per annum (tpa), including the Yakaar-Terenga hub, Tortue hub, and the Bira Allah hub,” Rystad said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com