Senegal’s president Macky Sall has announced that the country’s first oil and gas projects could be delayed by up to two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with economic disruption in the wake of the virus hampering investment in the offshore sector.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Sall noted that the pandemic could cause the country’s annual GDP growth to collapse from 6.5% over the last five years to, at best, 1% in future. This impending recession could spell doom for the country’s nascent offshore sector, with what is planned to be its first oil field, the Sangomar field, requiring investment of more than $4bn before beginning production, originally scheduled for 2023.

While Senegal has managed to contain much of the spread of Covid-19, with just over 5,800 confirmed cases and just 84 deaths out of a population of close to 17 million, the country has not been spared from international economic disruption. Oil majors such as BP and Total are among the investors in the Sangomar field, and with uncertainty plaguing the global offshore sector, the future of Senegal’s first oil field looks equally unclear.