Tullow Oil has bought 90% stakes in four onshore blocks in Cote d’Ivoire, the company said on October 12. Cote d’Ivoire’s Petroci has the remaining 10% stakes. The blocks – CI 518, CI519, CI301 and CI302 – cover 5,035 square km on the coastline, mostly to the west of Abidjan, the company said.
“I am very pleased to have signed the licences for these blocks and look forward to exploring again in Cote d'Ivoire. We have a long history in Cote d'Ivoire having been in country since 1997 and I am excited about the potential that these blocks, with their proven petroleum system, offer,” Tullow’s CEO, Paul McDade, said.
The statement said the blocks are in a proven petroleum system, with multiple oil seeps and past production from the Eboinda oil sands. Should commercial discoveries be made, production could occur quickly and at low cost, it said, citing the maturity of the country’s oil industry.
The first step will be to carry out a full tensor gradiometry (FTG) survey, beginning in early 2018. Data from this will then be used to assess the licences’ potential and help plan seismic data acquisition.
The company has had notable successes offshore but, with low oil prices, the high cost of such operations have deterred much exploration. Working onshore has, therefore, been a priority for Tullow for the last three years. Working onshore comes with higher levels of political risk, which Tullow has encountered first hand in northern Kenya, but the company is predicting that it can manage these concerns.
Tullow has a minor non-operated stake in the Espoir field, providing the company with around 4,000 bpd net.
The company is also a major investor in Ghana’s oil sector, working on the Jubilee and TEN projects. The latter had been at risk of a ruling from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), with Cote d’Ivoire hoping to extend its maritime border to the east – which would have given it control of TEN. However, a court ruling in late September found for Ghana.
The resolution of this legal case is likely to have made negotiations between Tullow and Abidjan somewhat easier.