FPSO Baleine; Source: Eni

Recent discoveries fan the flames of African country’s hopes for triple oil production boost by 2027

While the search for hydrocarbons has been ongoing in certain parts of Africa for decades with varying degrees of success, a slew of new oil and gas discoveries has pushed the continent to the forefront of global exploration hotspots. Given its string of recent discoveries, one of the countries in West Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, is forecasting a threefold boost in its oil output over the next three years.

FPSO Baleine; Source: Eni

The high hopes for a rise in oil production were disclosed by Alassane Ouattara, Cote d’Ivoire’s President, on June 18 when he took stock of the various reforms carried out at the legal and institutional level, as well as the performances achieved in most of the vital socio-economic sectors that impact the lives of the population, particularly in terms of security, diplomacy, sport, freedom of expression and the press, road infrastructure and structuring projects, transport, energy, agriculture, mines, health, tourism, education and training, youth and the empowerment of women.

The head of state pointed out the efforts made in the electricity sector and the performances achieved while explaining the basis of the recent upward adjustment of the electricity tariff, which is said to be necessary to account for the increase in production costs and guarantee sufficient electricity capacity. Ouattara highlighted that the energy mix strategy, incorporating renewable energies such as solar power plants and hydroelectric dams currently under construction, would make it possible to better control the price of the kilowatt hour in the long term.

In the meantime, Cote d’Ivoire’s President outlined his expectations for the fossil fuel industry, emphasizing the country’s potential to become not only a regional oil and gas producer but also a major energy hub in West Africa, thanks to an increase in oil production by 2027, fueled by investment from international players such as Italy’s Eni and recent discoveries in the Baleine and Calao offshore fields.

According to Ouattara, investments of over $15 billion, with Eni expected to shell out more than half due to a $10 billion spending earmarked for the three-phase development of the Balaine field up to 2027, will enable the country to step up its oil production game from 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 200,000 bpd over the next three years.

The Italian energy heavyweight started production from the Baleine field Phase 1 at the end of 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. This followed the sail-away of the FPSO Firenze, renamed Baleine upon its mooring. 

The start of Phase 2, anticipated by the end of 2024, is expected to boost field production to 50,000 bbl/d of oil and approximately 70 mscf/d of associated gas while the third development phase aims to increase field production to 150,000 bbl/d of oil and 200 mscf/d of gas.

Furthermore, Eni’s Calao discovery has put the wind in Cote d’Ivoire’s oil outlook sails with preliminary estimates indicating potential resources in the range of 1 to 1.5 billion barrels of oil. Ouattara believes these developments will pave the way for further economic growth and a surge in the energy sector’s oil production.

Another African country that is poised to see further growth in oil and gas production is Namibia, as many other players are currently joining its prolific Orange Basin, including Azule Energy which recently found its way into the basin, thanks to a farm-in agreement for a 42.5% interest in Block 2914A in PEL 85.

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