Australia’s largest oil and gas producer Woodside is pressing ahead with its plans to develop Senegal’s first oil project, announcing the final field plan has now been submitted to the West African nation’s government for approval.

Describing the move as a “major milestone”, Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said the project’s development plan was the last outstanding regulatory submission required before Woodside and its joint-venture partners could make a final investment decision later this month.

Flare from a well in Senegal. Woodside is pressing ahead with its plans to develop an oil project in the country.

Mr Coleman said it demonstrated Woodside’s commitment to meeting the permit conditions and “progressing the development” of the Sangomar field.

“These are the final documents required by the government ahead of granting approval to proceed,” he said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the joint venture, the government, our contractors and other stakeholders to develop this opportunity, which will also be Senegal’s first oil project.”

The first phase of the project is to develop 230 million barrels, with first oil targeted for early 2023, according to Woodside.

Senegalese oil producer Petrosen, which has a stake in the Sangomar project, said it was “excited about being in a position to take a final investment decision”.

Financing for the project has faced delays due to an arbitration sought by FAR Limited, which owns a 15 per cent interest in the project. FAR challenged Woodside’s acquisition of a 35 per cent holding from ConocoPhillips in 2016.

In a statement to the stock market on Tuesday, FAR said development of the “world-class” oil field in Senegal could transform FAR from an explorer to one of the biggest Australian-listed oil producers.

FAR managing director Cath Norman said the company was “thrilled” to be developing one of the largest offshore oil discoveries of the past decade.

“The Sangomar field development is anticipated to result in considerable cash generated for FAR and its shareholders from first oil in 2023, a time when FAR will also be one of the largest oil producers on the ASX,” Ms Norman said.

“This is an exciting time for the joint venture, the people of Senegal and FAR shareholders.”