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Senegal tries to lure investors to its energy industry

The Kora oil rig,
exploring off the
Senegal coastline
Dakar, Senegal — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 05 September 2011 – Energy companies operating in Senegal have said that they will drill three offshore wells next year as the West African nation vies to join a growing group of regional crude oil producers in Africa.

Confirming this in a statement here, state-owned oil company Petrosen geologist Joseph Medou said Senegalese officials had held talks with more than 10 oil companies this year in attempts to lure investors to its energy industry.

“If we make comparisons to what is happening in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone, we think we have the same kind of plays,” he claimed.

Senegal’s drive for oil investments comes after the start of production at the offshore Jubilee field in December, which made Ghana the continent’s newest oil exporter. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are among other states that border the Gulf of Guinea and are in various stages of offshore exploration. Also in West Africa is Nigeria, the continent’s biggest oil producer, and Ivory Coast, which exported 234,679 metric tons of crude in July.

“Seismic studies show one block, under exploration in Senegal by First Australian Resources Limited may contain as much as 1 billion barrels of crude,” Medou said. “The Australian-based Subiaco company is also planning to drill a second site that may hold another 200 million barrels,” he added

A third bloc, jointly controlled by Senegal and Guinea- Bissau, is being explored by London-based Ophir Energy plc and Noble Energy Incorporated of Houston, according to a Petrosen document.

“Senegal “’ which suffers from regular power cuts that led to violent street protests in June “’ is also hoping to find reserves of natural gas that can be used for electricity generation,” said Medou. “Africa Fortesa Corporation of Houston will drill an exploration well to expand output at a bloc known to hold at least 13 billion cubic feet of natural gas,” he added.