UK-based Cairn Energy has discovered oil at the second well of the Senegal exploration programme.

The oil and gas explorer made the discovery at its SNE-1 well, 100km offshore in the Sangomar Deep block.

The well, located near the company’s FAN-1 well where it discovered oil in October, could hold between 150 million barrels to 670 million barrels of recoverable resources.

Cairn Energy said intermediate logging of the SNE-1 well has confirmed hydrocarbons in the Cretaceous clastics objective similar to oil bearing sands discovered in FAN-1.

The company will use the results of the FAN-1 and SNE-1 wells to decide its optimal follow-up locations in order to identify the extent of the hydrocarbon accumulations and further activity, which is planned for 2015.

Cairn Energy chief executive Simon Thomson said: "This is a significant oil find for Cairn and Senegal, and based on preliminary estimates is a commercial discovery and opens a new basin on the Atlantic Margin.

"On completion of the SNE-1 well the joint-venture, along with the authorities in Senegal, will evaluate all of the information to understand how best to take forward these basin opening discoveries with an appraisal drilling programme in 2015."

Cairn is the operator and 40% owner of three blocks off the coast of Senegal, covering 7,490km².

ConocoPhillips, FAR and the national oil company of Senegal, WI and Petrosen, own 35%, 15% and 10% stakes respectively.

Image: Cairn Energy owns a 40% working interest in three Senegal offshore blocks: Sangomar Deep; Sangomar Offshore; and Rusifique. Photo: courtesy of Cairn Energy PLC.