Ocean Rig

Oil and gas exploration company FAR and its Senegal joint venture partners have signed contracts for the use of the Ocean Rig Athena drillship to conduct drilling offshore Senegal blocks.

The Ocean Rig Athena is currently in Angola and under long-term contract with ConocoPhillips until May 2017.

FAR expects the drillship to start mobilisation to Senegal in the next few days.

As part of the programme, two appraisal wells on the SNE-1 oil discovery would be drilled, in addition to one shelf exploration well.

According to the company, the drilling, logging, coring and testing programme is set for completion by mid-2016.

The initial two wells SNE-2 and SNE-3 are aimed at progressing towards proving the threshold economic field size.

"The joint venture has been able to take advantage of reduced deepwater rig rates."

BEL-1 will be the first exploration well to be drilled in the blocks and will be aimed at building the resource base within tie-back range of a possible hub development over the field in future.

FAR managing director Cath Norman said: "When this modern drill ship is combined with the experience gained from drilling the FAN-1 and SNE-1 discovery wells and the capabilities of the ConocoPhillips drilling organisation, we expect to deliver very efficient Senegal drilling operations.

"In addition, the joint venture has been able to take advantage of reduced deepwater rig rates and has secured the rig for a firm three wells and options for an additional three wells in the event of success."

The dual derrick, dynamically positioned drill ship Ocean Rig Athena was first delivered on 24 March 2014.

Image: The Ocean Rig Athena drillship. Photo: courtesy of FAR Limited.