FAR and joint venture partner Petronas have contracted a deep-water drillship for an oil exploration well later this year in Gambia, West Africa.

The Australian company said the drillship Stena IceMAX will spud the Bambo-1 exploration well between 1 October 2021 and 30 November 2021, subject to the rig's schedule.

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The Bambo-1 well in Block A2 is designed to drill into three prospects and is targeting 1.1 billion barrels of prospective oil resources on a best estimate 100% recoverable basis, said FAR.

It is reckoned to be an extension of the Sangomar field in neighbouring Senegal.

FAR is the operator with a 50% interest in Blocks A2 and A5 permits and is partnered by Malaysian national oil company Petronas.

If successful, a discovery could result in a standalone development which would be Gambia’s first oil production, added FAR.

The well is expected to take 30 days to drill to a planned total depth of 3266 metres in water depths of 993 metres, 500 metres south of the Senegal-Gambia border.

FAR managing director Cath Norman said: “We are pleased to be recommencing exploration drilling at FAR with this high impact well in The Gambia and the same drill team that drilled efficiently and safely for the Samo-1 well in 2018."

"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.

"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."