This Article was written by Josh Lewis and published by Upstream on 1 September 2016

Australian company Far Ltd has been carrying out work on a field development concept for the Cairn Energy-operated SNE discovery off Senegal.

Far revealed Thursday it had completed pre-engineering studies with engineering consultancy AMOG and has prepared a field development concept for the field based on the upgraded contingent resource estimate of 641 million barrels it announced last week.

The company sees a standalone development utilising a floating production, storage and offloading vessel with topside expansion capability for later development phases and satellite tie-backs.

Its phased development approach would see first oil in 2022 and the project eventually ramped up to a plateau production rate of 140,000 barrels of oil per day.

Far said its development concept was based on 70 – 80 development wells being drilled throughout the life of the field, split 50:50 between producer and injector wells, while the first phase of development would see 20 – 25 wells drilled.

Far managing director Cath Norman said the project was well positioned to benefit from cost deflation as a result of the current low oil price environment, with the company noting offshore drilling and subsea costs had decreased by more than 20% over the last two years.

“Development and operating costs estimates for the concept development are relatively low, making the break-even oil price very competitive in the current oil price environment at less than US$40 per barrel,” Norman said.

“Further appraisal drilling expected to start in late 2016 will target understanding the connectivity of the upper reservoirs and help optimise and scale the development.”

Far last week hinted it could be looking to increase its interest in SNE after challenging the expiry of the period for it to activate pre-emption rights over the US$430 million sale of ConocoPhillips 35% stake in the discovery to Australian company Woodside Petroleum.

ConocoPhillips has maintained the 30-day pre-emption period over the deal is over, while Woodside has even suggested pre-emption rights may not apply to the deal as it was buying ConocoPhillips’ subsidiary company which holds the interest, rather than buying the interest directly.

Cairn holds a 40% operated interest in the deep-water acreage containing the SNE discovery, Far currently holds 15%, while Petrosen holds a 10% share.