FAR’s Gambia gambit looking good

FAR’S much-anticipated geotechnical evaluation has come in for its two offshore blocks in mainland Africa’s smallest country The Gambia and they’re a ripper: 1.1 billion recoverable, albeit unrisked, barrels with 926MMbbl net to the junior.

Anthony Barich | 22 November 2017 | Energy News Bulletin

  • FAR entered The Gambia in March and soon signed up China’s biggest oil and gas company CNOOC to support its efforts there, and in Senegal.

    Yesterday, RISC confirmed that the Melbourne junior’s two targets Samo and Bambo together could hold about 1.1Bbbl, and even 2.615Bbbl at the high end (2.092Bbbl net to FAR).

    FAR identified the large prospects from 1504sq.km of 3D seismic acquired across A2 and A5 similar to the “shelf edge” plays the junior has successfully drilled in Senegal, to say nothing of the additional leads in the pipeline.

    Independent analyst Peter Strachan told Energy News that given the success FAR had at SNE, FAN and FAN-South, SNE North drilling wasn’t as good but that merely served to fuel interest that the trend might be to the south, which makes the Bambo and Samo project look all the more enticing.

    “Gambia and Senegal seem to be good from a fiscal point of view and the deal between ConocoPhillips and Woodside Petroleum was done when oil was $40/bbl and consummated when it was $45. It’s now $62, so the outlook from a commercial perspective is even better,” he said.

    With 80% of Blocks A2 and A5, FAR can afford to farm out quite a bit while retaining reasonable interest in what would be a 800-900MMbbl target.

    Recent seismic has been generating plenty of interest from farm-out partners, just as the world’s supermajors clamour for position in the region.

    BP is believed to be talking to FAR’s SNE operator Cairn Energy about buying in, while Australian-founded but now Oslo-listed African Petroleum has been in dispute with Senegal’s government immediately to the north over the Rufisque Offshore Profound block it awarded to Total (90%, operator).

    Samo has two target intervals sharing many similarities with the giant SNE oil field and is thus rated as a high chance of success, so it’s no surprise that Strachan said Samo has attracted plenty of interest from potential farminees.

    The Bambo play type is less understood but FAR says it’s still highly regarded, albeit with an 18% chance of success, so more work will be done to de-risk it.

    Further upside exists in a number of “large” leads FAR says it has mapped in Block A5, an area of poorer data quality and extends outside the 3D seismic coverage that is exciting said potential farminees, so more mapping will be done on those once reprocessing is available.

    FAR managing director Cath Norman said the RISC audit testified to the opportunity the junior has captured in Blocks A2 and A5.

    “Given the eight successful wells drilled on the shelf to date in Senegal and into the key reservoirs in the Samo prospect, the geological chance of success for drilling this prospect is high for a frontier exploration well,” she said.

    Samo will be the only exploration well to be drilled offshore The Gambia since Jammah-1 in 1979.

    Norman said success at the scale RISC has supported would be “truly transformational” for her company and the country’s people, and the junior is investigating rig and shore base options and ways to draw on regional expertise.

    RBC Capital Markets believes a farm-out of The Gambia is essential for FAR, both in terms of risk mitigation and its ability to fund a well in 2H18.

    The farm-out partner and terms of a possible deal will be of “significant interest”, the bank said, while retaining its Outperform recommendation on the junior.

    FAR was trading down this morning at 8.2c.

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