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Cairn in Senegal

In 2012, Cairn embarked upon a frontier exploration drilling programme focused on the Atlantic Margin, which resulted in the discovery of oil in Senegal in 2014 – the largest global offshore oil discovery of 2014. Cairn has now completed two drilling programmes in Senegal with a third under way, and is focused on additional exploration and appraisal activity to further delineate this potentially significant resource base.

Cairn’s strategy is to deliver value for our stakeholders from the oil and gas lifecycle.  As part of this Cairn is committed to delivering lasting and positive social and economic benefits in country.

Delivering value for stakeholders in Senegal

Stakeholders are those affected by Cairn’s activities including employees, communities, contractors and suppliers, and the government. Social and economic benefits include energy security, revenues from oil and gas activities, employment, development of infrastructure and social investment. As our operational activity in Senegal progresses so too does our level of its investment, which has both direct and indirect benefits for local stakeholders. Cairn’s belief is that the discovery and development of sustainable oil production in Senegal would greatly benefit the national economy and therefore the local population. To date, Cairn has calculated a total of US$330.3 million of capital expenditure invested through its activities in Senegal. 

In order to deliver the Company’s operational programmes in Senegal, Cairn has an office in Dakar and a recently built supply base in the international port of Dakar. This is part of Cairn’s approach to operations in any country to deliver value in country by maximising local participation which includes employing local people and working with local companies wherever possible. 

Working in the Dakar office

Saraou Kombo, Coordinator, Capricorn Senegal Limited, Dakar office

"I joined Cairn in December 2015 as co-ordinator in our Dakar office as the second phase of exploration and appraisal drilling started. Previously I spent a number of years working for the British Embassy in Senegal. This is the first time I have worked in the oil and gas industry. At first it seemed difficult, with so much new to learn, understanding how the industry works, new regulations and new faces to get to know. But new things are also exciting. I have been pleased to find that so much of how we worked in the embassy is also true in a UK company – the emphasis on anti-bribery and corruption, behaviours based on honesty and integrity, and compliance with rules and regulations.

A lot of my work has been focused on building good relationships with many of our stakeholders, communicating how we work with respect and responsibility. This is very important for the progress of Cairn in Senegal.

In Senegal, people are becoming excited about the recent discoveries and the benefits they could bring to our country, including new support industries, employment and improved education. Transparency in this new industry is therefore important for the country and initiatives like the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) are a good thing. There are high expectations that the oil and gas industry will bring social and economic growth and one of our biggest challenges is helping communities understand how the oil and gas industry works and the timescales and stages involved. I think the biggest challenge for the industry will be achieving our goals to the satisfaction of government, partners and communities and we are working hard to manage expectations.

Much of my role is concerned with facilitating these training initiatives and engaging with the local companies we work with, promoting our high standards of responsible working practices and helping to ensure they are met."

Given that oil and gas activities are relatively new to Senegal, local industry expertise is just starting to develop and, as such, developing capacity through training and education is a key part of our operations. Not only does this develop the opportunity to participate in the international oil and gas business but it is important for promoting working responsibly.

As part of this, in our Dakar office we have offered a number of training opportunities including English language training, health, safety and environment (HSE) training and organised visits to our headquarters in Edinburgh to reinforce our culture and to improve communications and cultural understanding. 

We have provided training to more than 162 officers of the relevant regulatory authorities to support the oil and gas regulatory environment in Senegal. This training covered oil and gas industry awareness, HSE awareness, offshore safety, offshore emergency response including oil spill response, waste management and English language learning. We have also provided English language training to 46 technical students at the University of Dakar; this is part of our aim to build local participation for the future. 

We have engaged local companies in logistics and supply base support, waste management services, aircraft handling services, transport services, fishing liaison, administration, accommodation and environmental and social consultancy services. 

Working with the national oil company Petrosen

Mohamed Sonko and Daouda Tigampo

"We have both been working at Petrosen as geologists for more than three years, after studying in Morocco and Senegal respectively. We are a small team of eight geologists and two geophysicists and as the only national oil and gas company, we work with all the oil and gas companies operating in Senegal. Petrosen has been waiting for a significant discovery for many years and people are very excited about the recent discoveries made by Cairn and its joint venture partners. Local people are excited because they see the opportunities for using income from oil and gas activities to support our economy and industries such as agriculture and our education system. Our biggest challenge at work is learning all about the industry which our partners help us with. We have received much training in the last few years. One of the highlights was in 2014 when we went to London with Petrosen to visit a core lab. We have also received English language training through Cairn and the British Council. During 2016, we spent two weeks at Cairn’s headquarters in Edinburgh trying to learn as much as possible in petrophysics, seismic data, modelling and software used in the industry. For us, drilling is the most exciting part of the oil and gas lifecycle, so we are looking forward to Cairn resuming drilling in 2017!"

Further exploration and appraisal drilling

Drilling offshore Senegal resumed in January 2017 as part of Cairn’s third phase of the exploration and appraisal campaign in Senegal. As Cairn’s activities in Senegal develop, acting responsibly in all our relationships with local stakeholders remains a key focus for the business in order to progress and deliver value from the significant resource base discovered offshore Senegal alongside Cairn’s joint venture partners. 

Read more on our Social investment activities and how we are Sharing benefits in Senegal.

Read more on our New supply base at Dakar port.

“A lot of my work has been focused on building good relationships with many of our stakeholders, communicating how we work with respect and responsibility.”

Saraou KomboCo-ordinator, Capricorn Senegal Limited

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