The rig is under long-term contract to ConocoPhillips (one of the JV partners) and is currently offshore Angola. The vessel will begin mobilization to Senegal later this week.
FAR says the new drilling program will include three wells—two appraisal wells on the SNE-1 oil discovery and one shelf exploration well to evaluate that region’s prospectivity.
The work will involve coring and testing at SNE and the whole three-well program is scheduled for completion by mid-2016.
The SNE-2 and SNE-3 appraisals are planned to prove up the threshold economic field size which FAR estimates is about 200 million bbl for a foundation project.
The exploration well, BEL-1, will be drilled further north and will be the first exploration of the shelf area following the discoveries at FAN-1 and SNE-1.
The aim is to build the resource base within tie-back range of a potential future hub development over SNE field. BEL stands for Bellatrix prospect which, as currently mapped, has a strong seismic amplitude anomaly similar to the one over SNE field and has potential to contain 168 million bbl of oil.
FAR estimates that there are a total of 1.5 billion bbl of prospective resources in several prospects within subsea tie-back distance to the proposed SNE production hub. Bellatrix will be the first of these to be evaluated.
Athena is a new seventh generation dual derrick dynamically positioning drillship first delivered from the shipyard in March 2014. ConocoPhillips has it on a 3-year contract with an option to extend for a further 2 years.
The Senegal JV is operated by Cairn Energy PLC and comprises FAR 15%, Cairn 40%, ConocoPhillips 35%, and Senegal state company Petrosen 10%.