Cairn Energy has secured approval from the Government of Senegal to go ahead with a major drilling programme in Sangomar Offshore block.
Following the approval, the company hopes to begin drilling at the block located 100km offshore Senegal later this year.
According to the company’s estimates, the fields in Senegal may contain more than a billion barrels of oil.
Initial work on the fields is set to begin shortly with a 3D seismic survey programme expected to commence in the third quarter of 2015.
Cairn Energy chief executive Simon Thomson said: "We are delighted to have agreement from the Government of Senegal for our extensive evaluation plan which commences shortly with a 3D seismic survey and continues later this year with a multi-well exploration and appraisal programme.
"Cairn estimates that the two discoveries made in Q4 2014 and the currently identified prospects and leads have a gross mean risked resource base of more than one billion barrels.
"Our aim is to maximise the value of our Senegal asset within a balanced, well-funded company."
The company has a 40% interest in three blocks including Sangomar Deep, Sangomar Offshore, Rufisque Offshore in Senegal.
ConocoPhillips owns 35% and FAR has 15% that include its other partners, while the Senegal National Oil Company Petrosen will retain a 10% interest in the exploration phase, BBC reported.
The evaluation plan was submitted by the joint venture in the second quarter of 2015.
Image: Cairn Energy chief executive Simon Thomson. Photo: © Cairn Energy PLC.