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Senegal exploration well to target Bellatrix prospect

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Oilfield Technology,


  • SNE field appraisal programme confirmed.
  • ConocoPhillips contracted Ocean Rig Athena drillship selected for drilling campaign.
  • Drilling of first well expected to commence early Q4.

  • Cairn Energy Plc, operator of the Senegal joint venture, has announced it will drill an exploration well on the Bellatrix prospect offshore Senegal as the third well in the upcoming appraisal and exploration programme.

    FAR and its joint venture partners in Senegal will start appraisal drilling on the world class SNE discovery in early Q4. The three wells in the firm drilling programme is expected to be drilled using the ConocoPhillips contracted Ocean Rig Athena drillship.

    Two wells will be drilled to appraise the SNE field and are aimed at progressing towards proving the threshold economic field size which the Operator announced is >= 200 mmbbls for a foundation project.

    A third well will be the first exploration well to be drilled in the blocks following the discoveries in the FAN-1 and SNE-1 wells and will be aimed at building the resource base within tie-back range of a hub development over the SNE field.

    The joint venture submitted a three year evaluation work programme to the Government of Senegal in early May 2015 which the Operator announced has been agreed by the Government of Senegal.

    This programme included the initial firm three well drilling programme and a 3D seismic survey. The three firm wells and final seismic products in this first phase of the evaluation programme are expected to be completed around mid-2016.

    In a presentation to its shareholders overnight, Cairn Energy exploration director Richard Heaton revealed that the third well in the drilling programme would target the Bellatrix prospect.

    Mr Heaton told Cairn shareholders, “This is an exploration well primarily on the Bellatrix prospect but we’ve now found that the Bellatrix prospect overlies the northern end of the SNE field on the latest 3D processing, which is very convenient.”

    Mr Heaton said, “This will define the northern end of the (SNE) field. It allows us to characterise the reservoirs there. We'll have an extensive logging programme here, but at the moment there isn’t a firm coring programme here or a firm testing programme. Obviously results will depend a little bit on how the first two wells also go, so we have some flexibility here.”

    FAR Managing Director, Cath Norman, said:

    “The Bellatrix prospect is one of a number of high quality targets the joint venture has identified in both the Rufisque and Sangomar licence areas offshore Senegal.”

    “The great attraction in drilling Bellatrix is that it will allow us to gain additional information on the extent of the SNE field while also testing a high quality exploration target of 168mmbbls in its own right. Success in Bellatrix will add considerably to the commercial prospects for the SE field.

    “We look forward to the start of drilling in October.”

    The Cairn Energy presentation is available on the company website at

    Adapted from a press release by Louise Mulhall

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