Cote d'Ivoire Energy Minister Fired
Energy minister Thierry Tanoh was abruptly fired December 10 and replaced by Abdourahmane Cisse, a former budget minister who served as President Alassane Ouattara’s special adviser on oil and gas.
Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly officially blamed Tanoh, an economist who held office since January 2017, for various shortcomings including a lack of progress on the Total-led ‘CI-GNL’ LNG import terminal project at Vridi in Cote d'Ivoire, adding that negotiations were stalled over the price of gas that the government will pay.
Last week NGW contacted Tanoh who declined to provide any update on the project’s progress. Total announced November 2016 that it would open the 3mn mt/yr capacity import terminal by mid-2018, claiming it would enable Cote d'Ivoire to be come "the first regional LNG import Hub in West Africa". Partners were to include Shell and Azerbaijan's state Socar among others. But this year Total too has declined to comment to NGW about the project, which was widely expected to be based on a floating regas ship (FSRU) for which no charter has yet been agreed.
News magazine Jeune Afrique, citing sources close to the government, reported that Tanoh was also criticised over bonuses paid by BP and Kosmos for the CI-526, CI-603, CI-602, CI-707 and CI-708 offshore licences they acquired in late 2017 which were less than $2mn per block, judged too little in the context of budgetary constraints.