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Ivory Coast seeks majors as it opens oil, gas licensing round

  • West African country opened licensing for 5 offshore blocks
  • Nation’s oil reserves are estimated at 100 million barrels

Ivory Coast wants more explorers for oil and gas as it seeks to boost economic growth, according to Energy Minister Abdourahmane Cisse.

The West African nation opened a new licensing round for five offshore blocks that are close to other discoveries and infrastructure, Cisse said by phone from Abidjan, the commerical hub. The world’s biggest producer of cocoa has proven oil reserves estimated at 100 million barrels and gas reserves of 1 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

“We want strong companies, companies that have done things in other countries,” said Cisse. “We want to make sure that in terms of obligation of work that things will go quickly.”

Eni SpA and Total SA were awarded exploration licenses earlier this year, while agreements for two other blocks are yet to be concluded. “Our policy now is that the terms we agreed works for both parties,” Cisse said. “When we don’t agree, we don’t sign.”

Three of the five blocks opened for licensing are newly zoned, bringing the total number in the country to 51 blocks, Cisse said. Four of these are in production and 28 are under exploration.

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