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Image courtesy of Cairn Energy.

Cairn Energy won approval on Tuesday to move forward with a multi-well drilling program in offshore Senegal.

According to Offshore Technology, the UK-based company hopes to spin its drills later this year at an offshore block about 62 miles off Sengal’s coast after receiving approval from the country’s government.

The company made two discoveries last year at its offshore Senegal SNE-1 well and FAN-1 well.

The firm is currently planning a three well program that will include two appraisal wells of the SNE-1 discovery that will core and test the reservoir, as well as one shelf exploration well.

Targets for these wells will be drawn from a combination of further evaluation of the SNE-1 discovery, additional exploration in the shelf region and exploration in the acreage around FAN-1.

There will also be a 772 square mile 3D seismic data acquisition campaign over the Sangomar and Rufisque blocks to help fully map the prospectivity of the contract area.

Cairn estimates that the existing two discoveries and the currently identified prospects and leads have an estimated mean risked resource base of more than a billion barrels.

The company said it believes there is “substantial prospectivity” across all three of its blocks and added that, to date, at least five prospects and eighteen leads have been identified and continue to be matured to drillable status.

The Ocean Rig Athena, a seventh generation dual activity drillship, has been selected for the drilling program.

Cairn has a 40 percent working interest  in three blocks offshore Senegal: Sangomar Deep, Sangomar Offshore and Rufisque.

ConocoPhillips has 35 percent working interest, FAR Ltd has a 15 percent working interest and Petrosen, the national oil company of Senegal, has a 10 percent working interest.

The three blocks cover a combined 2,891 square miles.

“Our focus will be to add value in Senegal within a balanced, well funded company. We are well placed to take advantage of this exciting opportunity as we build on the success of last year,” CEO Simon Thomson said.