China wades into oil basins off the West African coast

Australian energy company FAR Ltd. sees potential increasing by agreeing to work with a Chinese oil company on acreage off the coast of West Africa. Image courtesy of FAR Ltd.

April 3 (UPI) — Prospects for expanding the footprint in emerging oil basins off the Senegalese and Gambian coasts has increased through a Chinese partnership, FAR Ltd. said.

FAR Ltd., an Australian company with a heavy focus on oil basins off the coast of Africa, said it entered into a partnership with the British subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corp. that defines areas of mutual interest off the coast of Gambia and Senegal.

The deal gives both companies the ability to partner up on evaluating, bidding, negotiating and managing any joint ventures or buy-in opportunities for oil and gas in the broader Mauritania-Senegal-Guinea-Bissau deepwater basin.

FAR Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement that her company has the chance to dramatically expand its footprint in the region by teaming up with the Chinese partner.

“The complementary skills of both organizations strengthen our collective ability to build acreage positions offshore Senegal and Gambia,” she said.

The announcement from FAR follows its agreement this week to buy additional acreage off the coast of Gambia from ERIN Energy Corp., which has headquarters in Houston. Two Gambian blocks combine for an estimated 1 billion barrels of unrisked oil and are in close proximity to FAR’s SNE oil field offshore Senegal, which was considered the largest oil find ever made when announced in 2014.

The entire Mauritania-Senegal-Guinea-Bissau has listed eight oil discoveries so far.

In stating its broader plans for 2017, the Chinese company said it was targeting a net production in the range of 450 million to 460 million barrels of oil equivalent for the year, with as much as 165 million barrels of that coming from projects outside of China.

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