By Grace Goodrich, Field Editor
Since discovering commercial hydrocarbon reserves in 2014, Senegal has emerged as a regional exploration hotspot within the MSGBC Basin and continent at-large. Today, the West African nation is home to ongoing drilling campaigns from leading IOCs and some of the largest gas megaprojects on the continent, including the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim and Sangomar Field Development projects. For its part, pan-African independent explorer Atlas Oranto is one of the key indigenous firms leading offshore hydrocarbon exploration in Senegal, as the country prepares for first gas production by 2023. Marrying local expertise with technical and financial solidity, the Group invests heavily in frontier markets and offers unique insights into the challenges and opportunities of hydrocarbon development on the ground, representing an optimal partner to foreign entities looking to enter sub-Saharan markets.
At the upcoming U.S.-Africa Energy Forum 2021 (December 9-10, Houston, Texas) – organized by Energy Capital & Power (ECP) – the Group will participate as a Gold Sponsor and present farm-in opportunities for exploration activities in two shallow-water blocks offshore Senegal. The presentation is supported by the attendance of H.E. Aissatou Sophie Gladima, Minister of Petroleum and Energy of Senegal, at the two-day event, along with the region’s strong economic ties to North America and extended legacy of welcoming U.S. investment and private sector participation in the energy sector.
“Senegal has proven that the power of political will and leadership cannot be underestimated in this industry. Sound regulations, good governance and a political leadership aligned towards a common target of economic development and of making energy work for the people is what is making Senegal a new African success story,” said Prince Arthur Eze, Executive Chairman of Atlas Oranto Group. “Atlas Oranto believes in the positive and transformative potential of the energy industry in West Africa and across the continent, as well as the importance of partnerships between international and indigenous firms in lending a local voice to exploration and production activities.”
Atlas Oranto holds stakes in two offshore blocks in Senegal: Cayar Shallow and St. Louis Shallow. With 13 leads already mapped, the Cayar Shallow block lies immediately north of the Dakar peninsula and the existing FAN-1 and SNE-1 discoveries by Cairn Energy at Rufisque. The acreage is estimated to be oil-rich, suggesting individual trap sizes of several hundred million barrels of oil in place, coupled with a close proximity to the coast that makes commercial discoveries potentially more viable than other offshore areas. The Group has already acquired 1,000 km2 of 3D seismic, in addition to an initial interaction of quality, reprocessed 2D seismic. Going forward, the block is currently open to farm-in partners seeking to continue exploration activities within the highly prospective area.
To the north of the Cayar Shallow block is the St. Louis Shallow block, which Atlas Oranto entered in 2015 to extend its interests in Senegal’s offshore sector. The block is located east of Kosmos Energy’s St. Louis Profond, with the existing Guembel-1 discovery to the west and FAN-1 and SNE-1 discoveries to the south. Accordingly, the block is estimated to hold geological conditions analogous to the oil-rich Guyana Basin, as supported by previous license holders including Shell and Tullow Oil, as well as aforementioned nearby discoveries.
Under its 2015 PSC, Atlas Oranto has a work program consisting of an eight-year exploration phase in three parts: an initial phase in which 1,500 km² seismic may be acquired; a first extension in which a first well must be drilled and 25% of the block relinquished; and a second extension with the same conditions. To date, the Group has completed the first phase of exploration and may undertake a larger 3D survey than the minimum, covering 2,650 km². The St. Louis block has three primary prospects: Fish Eagle and Vulture, which contain prospective resources of 100-200 million barrels of oil, as well as Gainde to the south.