The roundtable will feature Mauritania and Senegal’s $4.6 billion transnational Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) megadevelopment, with an estimated 15 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, Senegal’s Yakaar-Teranga with 20 tcf and Sangomar with 500 million barrels of oil equivalent. Additionally, it will also feature the latest in exploration and downstream works of both Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry, the former recently licensing 11 offshore blocks of its own, the latter constructing a $300 million LNG receiving terminal. Amidst this hive of regional hydrocarbon activity, The Gambia has been certain to lead with its own prospective oil reserves, substantial in size, with Australian-listed FAR seeking partners.
FAR acquired working interest and operatorship in the A2 and A5 blocks offshore The Gambia in 2017, holding a 50% paying and beneficial interest as operator alongside Malaysian megafirm, Petronas. Fast-forward to December 2021 and the firm concluded drilling and formation evaluations in A2 through the Bambo-1 well and 1ST1 side-track well using the Stena IceMax drillship. Although it did not encounter any commercially viable oil or gas reserves, the findings did indicate a world-class oil reserve in the south of the block, dubbed the Panthera prospect.
The exploration wells were subsequently plugged and abandoned as per industry standards but followed-up with detailed subsurface studies across both the A2 and A5 blocks, including seismic processing and lab analysis of drill samples. The result being that this February, FAR announced it had high-graded three of four mapped prospects for potential future drilling, namely, A2’s Panthera along with A5’s Jatto and Malo prospects. Between these three sites exists an estimated 1.5 billion barrels worth of oil reserves.
Pursuant to this, immediately following the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power Conference 2022, FAR is expected to request a contract extension under Gambian petroleum law, given that the firm’s current license expires at the end of September. This potential extension will authorize a further three years of exploration activity inclusive of mandatory drilling, but in the interim, FAR has announced a farm-down of its Gambian A2 and A5 interests for this year, seeking oil major investors for a partial buy-out of their shares. The farm-down takes place after the company’s Gambian project budget was cut from $9.56 million to $6.8 million this calendar year, and will assist in financing ongoing drilling works to locate and quantify this anticipated reserve within their licensed blocks.
The past twelve months have seen FAR withdraw first from Woodside’s $4.8 million Sangomar megadevelopment in Senegal at the end of last year and then from its 21.43% stake in PetroNor’s Esperanco Blocks 4A and 5A, plus Sinapa Block 2 in Guinea-Bissau this year. Subsequently, Sangomar is expected to come online mid next year with a 100,000 barrels per day oil production capacity, and the exploration phases of PetroNor’s Guinea-Bissau blocks may target up to 471 million barrels of oil in the Atum prospect. These developments suggest that whilst FAR itself may not always develop such world-class resources alone, other industry players are able to collaborate and jointly realize potential.
With big oil on the horizon, The Gambia stands to prosper, already having recently crossed the $2 billion mark for its GDP and with 5.1% projected growth for this year. The west African country also remains responsible for operating a regionally leading system of local content accountability measures through production licenses. Already active in the country are a slate of multinationals, including Norway’s Petronor; Britain’s bp; Ireland’s Tullow Oil; America’s Kosmos Energy and Malaysia’s Petronas. With such a bright future ahead for the country and its energy industry, Energy Capital & Power is proud to partner with the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation and the country’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum in delivering the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power conference and exhibition 2022 to highlight the nation’s role as an emerging west African power and hydrocarbons leader.