Gas discovery fires up BP’s prospects off African coast

BP PLC on Monday said it has made a “major gas discovery” while drilling the Yakaar-1 exploration well offshore Senegal under a joint venture with Kosmos Energy, and said it will couple it with the Teranga discovery to form the foundation of a new liquefied natural gas hub in the basin.

BP’s investment in Kosmos last December was part of a spate of deals around the turn of the year aimed at rebuilding its depleted resource base.

BP Upstream CEO Bernard Looney said: “Yakaar-1 follows the earlier exploration success that led to the Tortue discovery and further confirms our belief that offshore Senegal and Mauritania is a world-class hydrocarbon basin”.

Combined with the natural gas Kosmos found a year ago, the companies believe the discovery “will support a second cost-competitive LNG hub”, Kosmos CEO Andrew Inglis said in a statement. Together with the Teranga – 1 discovery made past year, we believe this resource will support a second cost-competitive LNG hub [in addition to one being planned for Tortue]. BP in December also pledged to spend almost $1 billion, mostly in the form of a multiyear exploration and development carry, to acquire a 62% interest and operatorship of adjacent blocks offshore Mauritania in addition to its initial 30% stakes in Senegal licenses.

Since then, BP has formulated plans to acquire a 30% interest in the two offshore blocks called Saint-Louis Profond, which includes the Senegalese sector of the Tortue field and Cayar Profond.

Formerly known as Teranga West, Yakaar-1 lies in the Cayar Offshore Profond block roughly 95 km northwest of Dakar.

Kosmos estimates that the Yakaar-1 discovery, drilled using the Atwood Achiever drillship, discovered 15 Tcf gross Pmean gas resource, in-line with pre-drill expectations. Upon completion of the deal, BP will hold participating and effective working interests close to 60 percent, Kosmos -30 percent, and Société des Pétroles du Sénégal (Petrosen) – 10 percent. The partners now intend to drill three more exploration wells in the coming 12 months offshore of Senegal and Mauritania.

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