Production from Ivory Coast’s highly anticipated Baleine oil field is expected in 2023. Owned by a consortium comprising ENI, an Italian multinational oil and gas company, and Petroci, the Ivorian national oil company, the consortium jointly operates and manages the field for exploration, development, and production of hydrocarbons in the area.
Located near Assouindé, southeast of Abidjan, this significant oil field is projected to yield over 2 billion barrels of crude oil and 2,400 to 3,300 billion cubic feet of natural gas in two phases.
The initial phase, slated to commence in 2023, will account for 15% of the field’s total production, while the subsequent phase is expected to span 30 years. Recent drilling in Baleine E1X has unveiled even greater reserves of oil and gas in the adjacent block, elevating the total estimated quantities to approximately 2.5 billion barrels of oil and 3,300 billion cubic feet of gas, surpassing earlier projections by a remarkable 25%.
According to Ivorian authorities, an Floating Storage Production and Offloading (FPSO) vessel named Baleine departed from Dubai on April 6 to the Ivory Coast to begin production, eighteen months after its commercial discovery. The vessel has a processing capacity of 15,000 barrels/day (bbls/d) of crude oil, a storage capacity of 650,000 bbls, an unloading capacity of 520,000 bbls, treatment of produced water 7,600 bbls/d and a draft of 5,5m.
Ivory Coast’s Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Energy, Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, traveled to Dubai to observe the tradition of blessing the ship before its launch. This is a very ancient practice that aims to bring good luck to the ship and ensure a safe voyage. Before proceeding with the blessing, he underscored the rapid progress of the Baleine project which has necessitated substantial investment into the country including the drilling of three production wells in the field that are currently nearing completion. Furthermore, an 80 km hydrocarbon transport pipeline has been installed, and the FPSO has been refurbished to meet operational requirements. Sangafowa Coulibaly encouraged major industry players to explore the vast potential of Ivory Coast’s sedimentary basin, as he proclaimed that there are numerous other “Baleines” yet to be discovered in the country. The upcoming MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2023 conference, a prestigious gathering of key stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, presents an opportunity to further explore and invest in Ivory Coast’s burgeoning energy landscape.
Historically, the Ivory Coast has maintained a relatively moderate level of hydrocarbon production, averaging around 30,000 barrels per day. However, with the upcoming exploitation phase of the Baleine field, the country’s crude oil production is projected to surge by 50% in the short term, heralding a transformative shift.
Furthermore, Ivory Coast stands to benefit from the associated natural gas, which can be utilized to power its electricity plants, bolstering the country’s energy security and sustainability. These momentous developments also have the potential to foster regional collaboration, as similar offshore projects are underway in the MSGBC basin, notably in Mauritania and Senegal. The upcoming MSGBC Oil, Gas, and Power annual event in Nouakchott, Mauritania, taking place on November 21-22 presents an unparalleled opportunity for producers, local suppliers, and offtakers to convene, exchange expertise, and foster meaningful partnerships in the dynamic energy landscape of the region.