Oil and Gas

CNOOC ties up with Australia's FAR to hunt for oil, gas off West Africa

MELBOURNE, March 31 (Reuters) - China’s CNOOC Ltd has agreed to team up with Australian minnow FAR Ltd to look for oil and gas prospects in what is seen as a promising frontier off Senegal and Gambia over the next two years, FAR said on Friday.

FAR is already active in Senegal, where it is working with Woodside Petroleum and Cairn Energy to develop a deepwater oil field and this week bought an 80 percent stake in blocks off Gambia, just south of the Senegal acreage, from U.S. firm Erin Energy Corp.

“The partnership and AMI (Area of Mutual Interest agreement) with CNOOC UK dramatically enhances FAR’s ability to acquire new assets in our core strategic geographic area of expertise,” FAR Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement.

FAR plans to sell part of its 80 percent stake in the Gambian acreage over the next 18 months to help cover the $25 million to $30 million it will need to fund an exploration well there in late 2018, Norman said on the company’s web site.

An external spokeswoman for CNOOC was not immediately available to comment.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Richard Pullin