Deep Value Driller drillship; Source: Deep Value Driller

Another exploration success for Eni in West Africa as ‘major’ discovery comes to light

Italy’s oil and gas giant Eni has made a new significant hydrocarbon discovery in block CI-205 off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. The oil major claims that this discovery stands as the second largest one in the country.

Deep Value Driller drillship; Source: Deep Value Driller

The discovery, named Calao, was disclosed by Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire, and Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni, as a “major” one in Côte d’Ivoire, second only to the Baleine discovery, which was made by the Italian player in September 2021.

During the meeting, Ouattara and Descalzi talked about Eni’s activities in the country, including the results of the Murene 1X exploration well on Calao, which was deemed to be a significant hydrocarbon discovery. This meeting was also attended by Robert Beugré Mambé, Prime Minister, and Mamadou Sangafowa-Coulibaly, Minister of Mines, Petroleum, and Energy.

Furthermore, the drilling operations, carried out by the Saipem-managed Deep Value Driller drillship, took place around 45 kilometers off the coast in block CI-205, which is operated by Eni in partnership with Petroci Holding. Thanks to a drilling assignment with the Italian firm, the drillship secured a deal for 11 firm wells with six-well options. The rig arrived in Côte d’Ivoire in mid-October 2023 and began operations on November 1, 2023.

The Murene 1X well, which reached a depth of 5,000 meters in water depths of around 2,200 meters, encountered light oil, gas, and condensates in various intervals of the Cenomanian age characterized by good to excellent permeability values. According to Eni, the preliminary assessments indicate potential resources ranging between 1 and 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The appraisal and development plans for the discovery were also discussed, including the Italian player’s commitment to meet the country’s domestic needs. Eni has been in Côte d’Ivoire since 2015 and also holds participating interests in five other blocks in Ivorian deep waters: CI-101, CI-401, CI-501, CI-801, and CI-802, all in partnership with Petroci Holding.

Currently, the company’s equity production of hydrocarbons totals around 22,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from the Baleine field, which began production in August 2023, less than two years after the discovery in September 2021 and less than a year and a half after the final investment decision (FID) was made.

Eni is also working on the Baleine Phase 2 project, which is slated to start by the end of 2024 to boost field production to 50,000 bbl/d of oil and about 70 mscf/d of associated gas. The third development phase is also on the cards and aims to elevate field production to 150,000 bbl/d of oil and 200 mscf/d of gas.