Italian energy company Eni has made a second oil and gas discovery offshore from Ivory Coast in less than a year, raising the country’s profile as a producer and increasing the fossil fuel resources found in the area by about 25%.
The Baleine field now holds an estimated 2.5 billion barrels of oil and 93.4 billion cubic metres of associated gas, following the drilling of an exploration well in block CI-802, the energy giant said. The find was made in an adjacent block about 5km east of a discovery that was announced by the company in September.
Eni owns 90% of CI-802, with the remainder belonging to state-run Petroci Holding. The partners have interests in six other deepwater blocks off the coast of the west African nation, which has until now struggled to draw oil and gas investors due to a lack of large discoveries. Its output, which stood at 37 179 barrels of oil a day in 2019, according to the most recent government figures, is dwarfed by neighbours such as Nigeria – the continent’s largest oil producer – and Ghana. Mines, Petroleum and Energy Minister Mamadou Sangafowa-Coulibaly said on Thursday:
Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa grower, is edging closer to its ambition of developing its extractive industries, but potential developments will straddle a period of surging oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as a movement away from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy.
This second discovery “confirms the extension” of the Baleine field, Eni said. A third well is planned and the first oil is expected to come through in the first half of next year. – Bloomberg