It said that the well has been drilled safely, ahead of schedule and within budget to a depth of 3,240 meters and wireline logging is almost complete.

FAR said that even though oil shows have been encountered at several levels, indicating that the area has access to an active hydrocarbon charge system, interpretation of the wireline logs have so far indicated that the main target horizons are water-bearing.

The company said that the well also encountered good reservoir and seal facies, which indicated that all the key components for a successful trap are present.

It said that the data collected at Samo-1, the first offshore well in 40 years and first modern well, and the ongoing interpretation will be crucial to unlocking the hydrocarbon potential in the area.

The company said that the well will be plugged and abandoned. Meanwhile, the Government of The Gambia has announced a six-month extension to the current license until June 2019 to allow for evaluation of the Samo-1 well results.

FAR managing director Cath Norman said: “The result in the Samo-1 well is not in line with our pre-drill expectations, however it is providing an abundance of new subsurface information that  will help us understand the geological play along the shelf edge – an area which remains grossly underexplored.

“The FAR team has identified a portfolio of prospects and leads in the A2 and A5 permits and the data from Samo-1 will be used to further mature and derisk these for future drilling. Drilling the first well offshore Gambia for 40 years has drawn attention to this well and the result is a reminder of the risks we face in our business.

“We are pleased to receive a six-month extension to the licence, which will allow the JV to formulate and move on with plans to drill next year, after integrating the results from Samo-1 into the regional geological model.

“I would like to express my appreciation to the drilling operations teams in the safe and efficient delivery of our first well in The Gambia.”