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Australian independent FAR Limited has filed for arbitration in its dispute over ConocoPhillips’ sale to Woodside. The company said June 20 it has made a request to the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris to commence arbitration proceedings to resolve the current Joint Operating Agreement dispute regarding FAR’s right to pre-empt the sale of ConocoPhillips’ interest in the Rufisque, Sangomar and Sangomar Deep joint venture offshore Senegal.
Woodside bought a 35% stake in the three offshore licences from Conoco over a year ago, thinking the matter was done-and-dusted. But on June 8 this year, Woodside acknowledged that FAR was preventing it from taking over as development operator of the SNE oil field from existing operator Cairn. On that occasion, FAR had warned that it might seek legal redress against Conoco’s transfer of its interest to Woodside.
Cairn has made nine discoveries on the blocks and is shortly expected to report back on its 10th well.
Success with the drillbit by Cairn (mainly oil) and Kosmos Energy (so far mostly gas) has turned offshore Senegal into an exploration hotspot, and a hotly contested one. Last month Total was awarded a licence by the Senegal government last month only for a small Oslo-listed independent, African Petroleum, to protest that it already has the block.(source: Mark Smedley, Natural Gas World)