Photo: Stena IceMax drillship; Source: Stena Drilling

High hopes for Gambian well as FAR executes rig contract

Australia’s FAR Limited has contracted a Stena Drilling-owned rig to drill the Bambo-1 exploration well, located on its acreage offshore The Gambia, hoping for a discovery that could lead to the country’s first oil production.

FAR Limited has locked in the timetable for drilling the Bambo-1 well offshore The Gambia by executing a contract with Stena Drilling for the Stena IceMax drillship to start drilling operations in 4Q of this year.

The Bambo-1 well in Block A2 offshore The Gambia is designed to drill into three prospects with a total estimated recoverable, prospective resource of 1,118 mmbbls and the chance of geological success for the various horizons range from 7 per cent to 37 per cent.

The first target reservoirs is Soloo, the extension of the hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs in the adjacent Sangomar oil field, offshore Senegal. The other two are Bambo and Soloo Deep – two additional prospects, not drilled during the Senegal drilling campaigns.

These other two prospects carry a lower chance of success but a higher volume of hydrocarbons. The technical assessment of the Bambo Prospect has greatly benefited from FAR’s database and experience in the region and learnings from FAR’s involvement in the 11 successful wells in Senegal and the Samo-1 well drilled in 2018.

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FAR is the operator with a 50 per cent working interest in the A2 and A5 permits with its joint venture partner, PC Gambia Ltd, a subsidiary of Petronas. If successful, a discovery could result in a standalone development which would be The Gambia’s first oil production.

FAR’s Bamboo-1 well planning

According to FAR, the planning for the Bambo-1 drilling project is well advanced. The execution of the rig contract marks a significant milestone in the planning for the well with spud now confirmed for between 1 October and 30 November 2021, subject to rig schedule.

Long-lead items have been ordered and tendering and contracting for remaining key services is underway. The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the project is approved by the National Environmental Agency of The Gambia. FAR has also engaged Exceed Energy in Aberdeen to provide the engineering and wells management team to deliver this project.

The well is expected to take approximately 30 days to drill and planned to drill to a depth of 3266m in water depths of 993m, 85km offshore and 500m south of the Senegal-Gambia border.

Stena Drilling was also FAR’s drilling contractor for its previous well in The Gambia, Samo-1. The Stena IceMax is a 6th generation dual-activity dynamically positioned Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) that is currently undertaking operations in Latin America before deploying to The Gambia.

FAR Managing Director, Cath Norman, said: “The rig is planned to commence drilling in Q4 this year and the well will be the first well to be drilled in the Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry (MSGBC) Basin since the collapse of the market in the wake of the oil price crash and the COVID-19 pandemic and we look forward to getting back to basics at FAR and delivering value to our shareholders through successful exploration drilling.

“A discovery of oil offshore The Gambia would be extremely significant for FAR shareholders and the people of The Gambia and help move Gambia out of ‘energy poverty’ and to transition from burning heavy fuel oil for power generation”.

In Stena Drilling-related news, the rig owner has also been awarded a contract for the P&A of a well located off the UK for Hurricane Energy.