BREAKING: Côte d’Ivoire to award seven new oil & gas blocks to Murphy Oil and PETROCI

Last Wednesday, Côte d’Ivoire’s Cabinet approved the signing of production sharing contracts (PSCs) for blocks CI-102, CI-103, CI-502, CI-531, and CI-709 with MURPHY Exploration & Production; and of blocks CI-523 and CI-525 with its national oil company PETROCI.

Hawilti reported last September that both the American independent and PETROCI had expressed interest for the blocks. Independent operator Perenco was also believed to be in negotiations to acquire blocks CI-523 and CI-525.

Several of these licenses hold undeveloped oil & gas discoveries that could be brought on stream relatively quickly.

Map: Ministry of Mines, Petroleum, and Energy

Murphy Oil Corporation

The new portfolio of Murphy E&P, a subsidiary of Texas-headquartered Murphy Oil Corp., is particularly attractive. Blocks CI-102, CI-531, CI-103 and CI-709 form a straight column that stretches from the shallow waters offshore Abidjan all the way to deep-offshore areas where several wells have been drilled.

CI-103 notably holds the Paon deep-water gas and light oil field discovered by Tullow Oil in 2012 and already appraised. In 2019, independent operator EnQuest had entered negotiations to acquire the block without reaching an agreement.

Just north of Paon, Tullow Oil had also drilled the Calao-1X well in 2013, within current block CI-531. The independent had found good quality reservoir sandstone, although they were water bearing.

CI-709 finally holds development potential thanks to wells previously drilled by Anadarko Petroleum in 2016 and 2017, although commercial quantities are yet to be proven. These include Pelican-1X that intersected around 21.3m of net oil pay in two separate interval, Rossignol-1X that encountered well-developed sands and roughly 4.6 m of net oil pay on water, and finally Colibri-1X that also hit hydrocarbon pay.

PETROCI goes for gas

On its side, PETROCI will acquire blocks CI-523 and CI-525 that hold the Ibex, Gnou, Kudu, and Eland gas fields.

Both blocks are in shallow water next to the maritime border with Ghana and had previously been awarded to Taleveras and Afren and eventually to Vitol before the trader relinquished them in 2020.

Interest for exploration in Côte d’Ivoire has been soaring since Italian major Eni announced a discovery at its Baleine-1X well in 2021. The discovery was appraised by the Baleine East-1X well in 2022, confirming some 2.5 bn barrels of oil and 3.3 Tcf of gas across blocks CI-101 and CI-802.

In December last year, Tullow Oil had expanded its presence in the Tano Basin with the signing of a PSC for offshore exploration licence CI-803, which is adjacent to its CI-524 block where a well could be drilled in 2024. Significant prospectivity has been identified within the proven Cretaceous turbidite plays there, similar to the plays which are producing in the TEN and Jubilee Fields across the maritime border with Ghana.

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