Cote d'Ivoire seeks to fast-track Baleine development: press
Cote d'Ivoire has called on Eni to accelerate the development of a recent offshore oil and gas discovery to meet 10% annual growth in domestic gas demand and support exports, Reuters reported June 14, citing comments from the national mines and petroleum minister.
Eni made the Baleine light oil and natural gas discovery in September 2021. Situated around 60 km off Cote d'Ivoire's shore, it is estimated to contain 1.5-2.0bn barrels of in-place oil, as well as 1.8 to 2.4 trillion ft3 of associated gas. It lies in water depths of around 1,200 m.
Baleine is expected to begin phase 1 production by 2023, with peak output to follow three years later. The Ivorian government wants Eni to go faster. The Italian major, however, believes a gas pipeline required to reach peak production will make even the existing delivery window "extremely challenging", director of upstream Luc Vignati told the recent Africa CEO Forum.
Cote d'Ivoire's minister of agriculture and rural development, Sangafowa Coulibaly, told the same conference: "What we are trying to obtain from them is to reduce [the 2026] deadline as much as possible because local demand is growing annually today at 10%."
"This should not surprise anyone given the public and private investments we are doing and strong gas demand from home."
Cote d'Ivoire is looking to bounce back from the economic impacts of COVID-19 having previously benefited from resilient and robust GDP growth since 2012, according to the World Bank. Reuters says the economy reaps value from the world's leading cocoa production sector, and also electricity exports into surrounding African markets.
Baleine could potentially become Africa's first net-zero oil and gas development, in terms of both Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Under a memorandum of understanding with the Ivorian government, Eni has committed to restoring local ecosystems at Baleine's field site, and producing biomethane using operational waste.