6 Blocks licensing to be finalized by Ivory Coast

6 Blocks licensing to be finalized by Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast looks to conclude the licensing procedure of six oil blocks by June as the country plans to raise crude output amid growing interest from super majors to explore in West Africa.

The government is in talks with Italian and French majors regarding the blocks, Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energy Abdourahmane Cisse mentioned in an interview in Cape Town on Monday, declining to specify the companies. The country was nearing production-sharing deals for a minimum of four blocks with Total SA and Eni SpA, people known with the subject matter in November.

Ivory Coast has 48 distinguished oil blocks, of which 24 under exploration and four are in production. The average output is about 70,000 barrels per day, but there is so much more potential.

Producers like Tullow Oil Plc and BP Plc are researching in the world’s biggest cocoa grower as operators are increasing productoin output to about 200,000 barrels per day in neighboring Ghana. Ivory Coast is looking to expand an economy whose exports are overshadowed by shipments of cocoa and gold.

The participation of local oil companies is being encouraged by the government, even though it has no plans to make huge changes to the sector’s code. The persisting code is already good and any future changes will not cause harm to existing participants.

The presidential elections scheduled for 2020 are not showing any signs of causing uncertainty among investors or inducing them to put decisions on hold, said Cisse. In 2010, ex-President Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to accept defeat in a vote triggered Ivory Coast’s worst-ever crisis in which at least 3,000 people died during a five-month standoff.

“We have six contracts that we’re negotiating right now with majors,” said Cisse. “It’s a sign that they actually believe in the country, otherwise they won’t be looking at it. We won’t have a remake of 2010.”