Industry leaders upbeat about Senegalese oil and gas development

34189290070 2f19c89266 zOffshore discoveries are tipped to help Senegal prosper. (Image Source: Paul Quast/Flickr)Leaders from the oil and gas industry in Senegal are positive about hydrocarbons prospects for the west African country

Ben Clube, executive director of FAR, told the Getenergy Global event that the company has had a "long journey with exploration" after 10 years in Senegal. After successful discoveries in the SNE field, Clube said FAR will subsmit a plan of development to the Senegalese government in 2018 with a first oil target of 2021.

In terms of capacity building, Clube told the conference that FAR has been running graduate training programmes in Senegal: "There are opportunities in Senegal, the framework is good, we need to get [graduates] into a position where they can have mentors and grow. We don't want to create trained individuals with no employment opportunities."

Along with its Senegalese activities, FAR has three blocks in Guinea Bissau and two blocks in Gambia, both with plans to drill in 2018.

Rogers Beall, executive chairman, Africa Fortesa Group, said the company has been a partner with Petrosen, the Senegalese national oil company, for 25 years and describes the company's time in the country as "quite a ride". Fortesa's permit in the MSGBC basin includes partnerships with Cairn Group and Kosmos, and Beall says they have worked extensively with local people.

Describing the Senegalese workforce as "educated, intelligent and highly motivated", Beall said he has found that workers in the hydrocarbons sector would prefer to "build their country" than work abroad.

"I don't call it local content, I call it smart business," said Beall of the company's push to use Senegalese staff wherever possible and minimise outsourcing. "We have maybe three expats in the country, we work directly with highly educated Senegalese who we've helped through school - it has been a joy for us."

"With piepline construction, we literally hired the village," he said. "You have to imagine what it's like to live in a country with 48 per cent unemployment."

"Culturally, you have to understand the country from the eyes of the country, not the API (American Petroleum Institute)."

Beall talked about the importance of a good return on investment when using local content: "From a moral standpoint, it's the right thing to do and it's a business - you need the local partners to help you work ... it has to make a profit. Our partner is the NOC, they don't have money to waste ... Under the PSA, profit is split and they would like more money. They approve the costs."

Clube agreed that it is important for operators in Senegal to be proactive so that using local content makes good business sense: "We need to connect the trained individuals to opportunities, to connect the right people."

"We need to consciously identify positions in our organisation that we want to see filled by Senegalese," said Clube. "As life goes on, those people become the future mentors, the footprint of those staff can grow." 

Beall said using the local supply chain is as important as hiring local people and, wherever possible, this should be a priority in procurement.

"There should be profit to share for the people who own the resource - it is the people who own the resource."

The Getenergy Global event was aimed at sharing ideas on boosting local content in oil and gas operations and the Africa-focused sessions featured some speakers discussing using workers from across regions as well as within individual countries. Beall, for example, told the conference that Fortesa had successfully employed Nigerian staff in Senegal.  

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