Australian firm Woodside Petroleum has exercised its right to pre-empt the sale by oil and gas exploration firm FAR to India’s ONGC Videsh of FAR’s entire stake in the $4.2bn Rufisque, Sangomar and Sangomar Deep (RSSD) joint venture (JV).

Sangomar Field Development is located within the Senegalese part of the Mauritania-Senegal-Guinea Bissau Basin. Woodside Energy is the operator of the RSSD JV.

The RSSD JV comprises Crain Energy subsidiary Capricorn Senegal (40%), Woodside Energy (35%), FAR (15%) and Senegal national oil company Petrosen (10%).

FAR has a 13.67% stake in the Sangomar exploitation area. It holds a 15% interest in the remaining RSSD evaluation area.

Last month, FAR agreed to sell its 15% stake in the RSSD project. ONGC Videsh subsidiary ONGC Videsh Vankorneft signed the agreement with FAR to buy the stake for $45m.

Woodside noted that the terms of this acquisition will reflect those of the FAR/ONGC deal, including a $45m payment to FAR and reimbursement of FAR’s working capital share from 1 January 2020 until completion.

The deal will also include certain contingency payments valued at $55m.

The acquisition is, however, subject to receiving approval from Government of Senegal, FAR shareholders, and other customary conditions.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said: “Sangomar is an attractive, de-risked asset in execute phase, offering near-term production. The acquisition is value accretive for Woodside shareholders and results in a streamlined joint venture which will assist in our targeted sell-down in 2021.

“We plan to commence development drilling next year as we progress the project to targeted first oil in 2023.”

Upon completion of the acquisition, Woodside’s participating interest in the RSSD JV will rise to 82% for the ‘Sangomar exploitation area’. Its interest in the remaining RSSD evaluation area will increase to 90%.