Cairn has been active in Senegal since 2013. In 2014 Cairn made two significant discoveries in Senegal, one of which was potentially the largest global oil discovery in 2014.


Successful wells drilled offshore Senegal


Basin opening oil discoveries


Cairn and its JV partners completed four successful appraisal and exploration wells (SNE-2 appraisal well, SNE-3 appraisal well, BEL-1 exploration and appraisal well, SNE-4 appraisal well) in the SNE field in H1 2016. Drilling operations were completed safely, ahead of schedule and under budget with four wells completed at the forecast cost of three. 

The objective of the appraisal and exploration programme in H1 was to establish the extent of the field discovered by the SNE-1 well, gather data to determine the hydrocarbon volume and reservoir deliverability and confirm and evaluate additional nearby prospects. The programme has substantially improved Cairn’s understanding of the aerial extent of the SNE field, confirming its extension to both the north and south such that it is now interpreted to cover an area of more than 350km2.  The well results have shown a consistent oil column of just over 100 metres (m) at approximately the same depth in every well, with good quality, sweet 32° API crude, overlain by a gas cap.  A comprehensive logging and coring programme has been conducted, with over 600m of core successfully recovered from the four wells, confirming the nature of a stacked series of upper reservoirs of generally thinner units overlying lower reservoirs of thicker more tabular sands.  Sand quality throughout is good with porosity and oil saturations very similar across all wells.  In SNE-2 and 3, a total of four drill stem tests (DSTs), were successfully carried out, covering both the lower and upper reservoir units to assess reservoir deliverability.  Together with the combined reprocessed 3D seismic and new 3D broadband seismic dataset, the log, core and test data are being integrated to build a comprehensive geological reservoir model. 

Based on the five well penetrations so far, the current best estimate, independently assessed by ERCE, for oil in place on the SNE field is more than 2.7 billion bbls gross with estimated gross recoverable contingent oil resource of 1C 274 mmbbls, 2C 473 mmbbls, 3C 906 mmbbls.

The four well appraisal campaign results have been highly positive in confirming the increased size of accumulation, gathering a significant database of information, demonstrating excellent operational and budgetary performance and being carried out safely.  As we plan future activity, we can see clear potential to access additional cost savings from the current lower cost operating environment. A rig tender and services process is well advanced as we prepare for stage three of the campaign and is benefiting from the lower cost environment and significant availability of high quality rigs.

The JV is working to determine how best to phase the development of the large resource base.  We are also consolidating our views on how the changes in industry pricing will impact the capital expenditure cost estimates of development including the economic field size.

2015 activity

  • 1 operated appraisal well
  • Operated 3D seismic acquisition programme
  • 3 year extension to PSC


Key contact


Miles Warner


Miles Warner

GM Senegal


50 Lothian Road

T: +44 131 475 3000
F: +44 131 475 3030

Senegal office

Capricorn Senegal
P.O Box 25087 Dakar Fann

Telephone Number: (+221) 33 869 6101