Offshore oil miss fails to dent Gambian optimism

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The West African countrys most recent effort to find offshore oil came up short, but explorers hope to drill more wells in 2019

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The first offshore well drilled in The Gambia in four decades found more water than oil and has been abandoned. But both the drillers and the Gambian government remain optimistic that the block's proximity to big oil finds off central Senegal means it could yet prove oil-rich.

Australian independent Far drilled the Samo-1 well in the A2 permit area in partnership with Malaysia's Petronas, touting a prospective resource of 825mn barrels in the area. But Far said in November that wireline logging data indicated the main target horizons in the well, which was drilled to a total depth of 3,240m, were water-bearing.

The government has extended Far's current licence to June 2019 to allow for further data evaluation, which the company said would allow it to identify future drilling targets. Far, which holds the neighbouring A5 permit, still plans to carry out further drilling in 2019.

"Oil shows were encountered at several levels indicating that the area has access to an active hydrocarbon charge system. The well also encountered excellent reservoir and seal facies, indicating that all the key components for a successful trap are present," says Far. But the firm's managing director Cath N....

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