LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) -
* Woodside and Cairn Energy awarded front-end engineering contracts for Senegal’s first oil project, a key step before a final investment decision expected in mid-2019, Woodside said on Monday.
* The project’s first phase targets the unlocking of an estimated 230 million barrels of oil via a floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) with a capacity of around 100,000 barrels a day.
* First oil production is expected in 2022.
* Woodside operates the project with a stake of 35 percent, with Cairn holding 40 percent and Far Ltd and the Senegal National Oil Company the rest.
* RBC said in a note on Cairn: “We believe, over the next 9-12 months, there is the potential to realise value from the ... development offshore Senegal.”
* Banking sources and a Senegal oil ministry source told Reuters last year that BP, which has other projects in the same waters, was in talks with Cairn to buy a 30-percent stake in the project which could be valued at around $600 million. (Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)