3 people handling fish

Social and economic benefits delivered in Senegal

Following the discoveries made offshore Senegal in 2014, we continued with an exploration and appraisal drilling programme and further seismic studies offshore Senegal in 2015. Our activities are now focused on proving the presence of a commercially viable oil and gas resource for development and production. At this stage in the oil and gas life cycle, there is still some uncertainty as to whether this will be achieved. However, confidence in a longer-term project is growing as we make the transition from a purely exploration phase to a longer appraisal phase. This is reflected in the increasing scope of the social and economic benefits the project is bringing to Senegal.

Employment generation and training opportunities

We established an office in Dakar in September 2013. By the end of 2015, we were employing an organisation in the Dakar office of 10, including eight Senegalese nationals. We are committed to maximising local Senegalese employees where we can, and look to provide training opportunities to develop our staff to further participate in the international business of oil and gas. In our Senegalese office we have offered a number of training opportunities, including English language training, first aid, firefighting and defensive driving.

In 2015, we engaged a number of Senegalese companies operating locally to assist our operations with logistics and base support, waste management services, aircraft-handling services, transport services, fishing liaison, administration, accommodation, and environmental and social consultancy services. With the growing confidence resulting from the 2014 discoveries, we can now build towards forming longer-term relationships. Such relationships will help us to address challenges including developing local participation in our supply chain and meeting international standards of operation. For example, last year we retendered and restructured our logistics requirements into a longer-term contract to promote the training and development of local dedicated staff to these key roles.

In practice, this means that 16 local port workers are dedicated to our logistics operations. These port workers are coached by our expatriate Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Supervisor and Logistics Supervisors, who are also training two local Senegalese HSE advisers. Within our contract with the local logistics agent, specific on-the-job training is also provided by us bringing in industry experts to deliver expertise in lifting operations and the use of emergency equipment in the event of an oil spill within the port. In addition, a local customs-handling agent and a local first response logistics agent are assigned to the contract and are again accompanied in the role by an experienced international adviser to bring together international standards and local knowledge. Read more about this in Supply chain, Contractor engagement.

National personnel participating in Senegal (2015)

National personnel participating in Senegal (2015)


  Senegal Dakar office Drilling offshore Drilling shorebase and well activity delegate Rufisque seismic
National 75 8 8 55 4
Non-national 370 2 251 28 89
Total 445 10 259 83 93


We have also placed particular emphasis on support to education and institutional capacity building in Senegal over the last two years. In 2015, we built on the institutional capacity programme that we initiated in 2014. This programme provides awareness and training opportunities to the regulatory authorities to increase their knowledge and understanding of the oil and gas business. Last year, we provided the following to members of the main regulatory authorities governing the oil and gas industry in Senegal including the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Energy, High Authority for the Coordination of Maritime Safety, Security, and the Protection of the Marine Environment (HASSMAR), and the Senegalese national oil company, Petrosen:

  • continuing oil and gas awareness sessions; and
  • English language training delivered through the British Council in Dakar.

In addition, we were invited by HASSMAR to support a jointly sponsored International Maritime Organisation (IMO)/Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI-WACAF) national workshop on the development of the national policy for the use of dispersants, held in Senegal. The overall objective of the three-day workshop was to develop a legal framework on the use of dispersants. Cairn contributed by running an interactive case study scenario session to examine the most suitable treatments and implications of using dispersants, and by participating in a desk-based scenario simulation on day three of the workshop (see Major accident and spill prevention).

Through direct local hiring to the Cairn organisation and through the contracting of local businesses, we are helping to generate employment. Although during exploration and appraisal activities this tends to be at a fairly low level, we are also developing experience and skills for potential future activities, even though future activities are still dependent on the success of our ongoing appraisal programme.

Payment of taxes to host governments

We contribute to the Senegalese Government through the payment of taxes and duties. In 2015, we paid fees to the Government of Senegal principally for training allowances, withholding taxes and licence fees. We have for many years disclosed our payments to governments as part of our commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). We are also participating with working groups of the EITI in Senegal (see TransparencyPayment to governments).

Support to community development initiatives

We have an established procedure for developing Social Investment Plans (SIPs) across our operational activities (see Social investment). As part of our SIP in Senegal we have partnered with The Hunger Project to support their microfinance programme in 10 community clusters in Senegal, as well as sponsoring a nationwide competition for the Great Entrepreneur run by the British Council in Dakar. We have also supported an entrepreneur who won the Great Entrepreneur in 2014/15 to forward her business for the community collection and recycling of plastic waste.

Contributions to environmental knowledge

As part of our Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and environmental monitoring and management programmes, we collect data on the environments in which we work. This data is shared with national authorities and forms part of a national resource. In 2015, we collected information on marine mammals and seabird observations during our seismic operations, which will be shared with the Senegalese authorities.

See performance data Community.


students participating in Capricorn Senegal-sponsored capacity building.


institutional stakeholders participating in Capricorn Senegal-sponsored capacity building.


contractor staff participating in Capricorn Senegal-sponsored HSE capacity building.


social investment - education and training expenditure (includes USD$200,000 training allowance paid to the Senegal Government as part of licence agreement).

US$9.5 million

in payments to the Senegalese Government in 2015.


community development project expenditure in Senegal 2015.


environment project expenditure in Senegal 2015.

Download PDF

Create a PDF of this section to take away.

Download PDF