A recent three-well drilling campaign offshore Mauritania and Senegal has further established the extent of the world-class scale of the natural gas resources that could help feed an innovative floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) project.

Operator BP plc, Dallas-based Kosmos Energy Ltd. and Mauritania’s state-owned Société Mauritanienne Des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier (SMHPM) in October reported a massive gas discovery at the Orca-1 exploration well in the BirAllah offshore area. The latest well results confirm the initial discovery, BP management said Monday.

"This is an exciting result as it proves that our seismic data is identifying hydrocarbon reservoirs deeper than we had previously thought,” said BP’s Howard Leach, head of exploration. “We have identified a large prospective area with considerable resource potential in Southern Mauritania. We will now conduct further appraisal drilling to help inform future development decisions."

The discoveries tie into plans for the Greater Tortue Ahmeyin FLNG development, which would be the first to establish the Tortue gas field as a world class resource. The field is on the maritime border between Mauritania and Senegal and resources developed could provide revenue for the countries and a low-cost source of domestic energy. BP is the lead operator for the project.

Three appraisal wells drilled this year, GTA-1, Yakaar-2 and Orca-1, targeted a total of nine hydrocarbon-bearing zones, with gas encountered in all nine zones, BP noted. The wells, the first in the region to be operated by BP, were completed $30 million under budget and 40 days ahead of schedule.

In total, the wells encountered 160 meters of net pay, adding confidence in the significant gas resources in the region. The Orca-1 well in Block C8 offshore Mauritania had successfully encountered all five of the gas sands originally targeted.

The Greater Tortue Ahmeyim Phase 1 development was sanctioned in December 2018. The successful results of the Yakaar-2 and Orca-1 wells could underpin future developments, including the possible development in Yakaar-Teranga in Senegal and in the Bir Allah/Orca area in Southern Mauritania.

“The timings of both potential future developments will depend on the level of appraisal required, supporting commercial development plans and integrated gas master plans in the host nations,” BP management said.

BP's partners in Block C8 in Mauritania are Kosmos and SMHPM. Partners with BP in the Cayar Profond block, which includes Yakaar-2 in Senegal, are Kosmos and Petrosen. And BP’s partners in the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim unit are Kosmos, SMHPM and Petrosen.