Ivory Coast plans to licence six oil blocks by mid-year

The government is in talks with French and Italian majors about the blocks
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara opens a valve during the launch of a new petroleum pipeline which will connect Yamoussoukro to Abidjan, on July 29, 2013, in Yamoussoukro. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo by STR / AFP)

Ivory Coast plans to conclude the licensing of six oil blocks by June as the country seeks to increase crude output amid rising interest from supermajors to explore in West Africa.

“The government is in talks with French and Italian majors about the blocks”, Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energy, Abdourahmane Cisse says.

We would like to increase the participation of local companies in our oil sector, even though we have no plans to make major changes to the sector’s code, he adds.

Ivory Coast has 48 demarcated oil blocks, of which four, are in production and another 24 under exploration, according to Cisse. Output averages about 70,000 bpd, but “the potential is a lot higher”, he adds.

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Producers from BP to Tullow Oil are exploring in the world’s biggest cocoa grower as operators raise output to about 200,000 bpd in neighbouring Ghana.

“The six contracts we are negotiating with majors right now, is a sign that they actually believe in the country”, says Cisse.

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