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Gambia offshore interest buoyant

Interest in Senegal and Gambia’s offshore sector has intensified, attracting Woodside Energy, BP and now China's CNOOC Ltd into acreage proved up over the past half-decade by pioneering mid-tier players after years of neglect.

Kosmos ploughed its knowledge of late Cretaceous play systems honed in Ghana and Equatorial Guinea into Mauritania’s maritime border play, duly reaping its reward with the 25 trillion cubic feet Greater Tortue gas find.

BP insists its exploration campaign with Kosmos is in no way dependent on cross-border unitisation, confident in untapped bounty beyond, while Woodside is backing Cairn Energy in a four-well campaign to develop the shelf edge fairway hosting the SNE oil discovery.

Woodside considered Impact’s AGC block earlier this year but walked away, preferring to concentrate on SNE where it farmed in to ConocoPhillips’ 35% stake — a manoeuvre which fellow Australian company Far Ltd continues to dispute, claiming pre-emption rights.

Far, for its part, called a halt to share-trading this week pending a proposed equity raising as commitments escalate.

Fortified in a strategic alliance with CNOOC-Nexen, Far is now entrenched along the shelf and is applying for the prized Rufisque Deep, also keenly sought by Cairn, Total and Anadarko Petroleum, affording licence holder African Petroleum more time in its long struggle to secure an extension — and a deep-pocketed farm-in player.

Senegal President Macky Sall’s insistence on risk spending is at last aligning with the desperate need of cash-strapped minnows to maintain buoyancy in increasingly choppy seas.