Senegal turns oil exporter as maiden Sangomar crude cargo loads

Senegal’s maiden crude cargo is loading at Woodside’s Sangomar oil project, three weeks after the West African country achieved first oil, ship-tracking data and market sources said.

At 1 pm London time (1200 GMT) on July 1, the Greek-flagged Maran Poseidon crude tanker arrived at the 100,000 b/d project’s export terminal, according to S&P Global Commodities at Sea data, which lists Shell International Trading as the charterer of the 1.06 million-barrel capacity vessel.On June 11, Commodity Insights reported Shell was the buyer of the first batch of Sangomar crude. Shell did not respond to a request for comment.The first export cargo marks a major milestone for Senegal, which joins the ranks of the world’s oil and gas exporters with the $5.2 billion development.

It also represents additional barrels of non-OPEC+ crude hitting the market just as the producers’ alliance is attempting to stabilize the market and boost prices amid surging output in the Americas and sticky inflation globally.Australia’s Woodside – which pumped 513,000 boe/d in total in 2023 – is the operator of Sangomar with an 82% stake, alongside state-owned Petrosen with 18%. Woodside did not respond to requests for comment.

It is not clear where the crude will be transported after loading, but a Woodside spokesperson previously told Commodity Insights that it “has medium sour qualities analogous to grades such as Oman and [Norway’s] Johan Sverdrup.”Oman Blend crude is primarily sold into China, while Johan Sverdrup is popular among refiners in Poland, the Netherlands and Germany, according to CAS data.

Senegal’s crude loads from the 1.3 million-barrel capacity Leopold Sedar Senghor floating production, storage and offloading vessel, which is anchored some 100 km off the coast of Dakar, Senegal’s capital. Senghor was the African nation’s first president.The project encompasses 24 wells including 12 production wells – the last of which is still to be drilled – 10 water injectors and two gas injectors in phase 1. Woodside has not commented on what a possible second phase would look like.

“First oil from the Sangomar field marks a new era not only for our country’s industry and economy, but most importantly for our people,” Petrosen boss Thierno Ly said in a statement earlier this month. “We have never been so well-positioned for opportunities for growth, innovation and success in the economic and social development of our nation.”

The first cargo comes under four months after anti-establishment former tax inspector Bassirou Diomaye Faye won a surprise first-round election victory and promised to renegotiate oil and gas contracts. Sources said no such action has yet been taken.

The country is also edging toward the startup of the long-delayed Greater Tortue Ahmeyim LNG project, operated by BP, which straddles the Senegal-Mauritania border and is expected to come online later this year.According to BP, LNG production could reach 2.3 million mt/year in the first phase of the project, in which Kosmos Energy also holds a stake.