Norway’s DNO enters Côte d’Ivoire’s as it looks for more African oil & gas deals


DNO has announced yesterday the acquisition of Mondoil Enterprises from Oslo-listed RAK Petroleum for a consideration of $117.25m. By acquiring Mondoil Enterprises in an all-share transaction, DNO gains a 33.33% indirect interest in Foxtrot International, operator of the producing block CI-27 and exploration block CI-12 in Côte d’Ivoire.

“As DNO targets expansion beyond the Kurdistan region of Iraq and the North Sea, the move into Côte d’Ivoire is an important first step into a highly prospective region offering a broad set of growth opportunities through acquisition of producing fields, development assets and exploration licenses,” said Bjørn Dale, DNO’s Managing Director. The company also added that is it already evaluating other opportunities in Africa.

A Significant Gas Asset

Côte d’Ivoire’s offshore CI-27 Block represents one of West Africa’s most strategic gas assets as it produces and supplies natural gas to the country’s biggest power producers: CIPREL and Azito Energie. As a result, CI-27 continues until today to produce about 70% of the gas consumed on the Ivorian market, and ultimately providing power to millions of households and industries.

The development of the block primarily focuses on the Foxtrot field, but also the Manta field discovered in 1981 by Phillips Petroleum, and the Mahi and Marlin fields discovered in 2005 and 2007 respectively by current operator, Foxtrot International. During the first half of 2022, gross sales averaged 200 MMscf/d of gas and 1,500 bpd of oil and condensate, DNO said.

Over the 2020-2022 period, Foxtrot and its partners on CI-27 invested $350m into developing additional reserves and building new onshore facilities to increase gas production and processing capacity to 230 MMscf/d. The Sapura Berani rig was mobilized on the block this year, Hawilti’s Offshore Rigs Tracker shows. Three new wells and two side-track were drilled in total as part of the campaign.

Côte d’Ivoire is emerging as a new oil & gas hub in West Africa

Next to Nigeria and Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire has traditionally appeared as a less attractive market for oil & gas investments. While the country ambitioned to reach a production of 100,000 bopd this decade, output remains at below 25,000 bopd. However, fresh investments into power generation have justified the expansion of the country’s gas infrastructure while new offshore discoveries have repositioned it as an exploration frontier on the continent.

The country’s two biggest thermal power producers, CIPREL and Azito Energie, are indeed both involved in expansion of their gas-to-power facilities around Abidjan. The ongoing Azito 4 expansion is adding 250 MW to Globeleq’s power complex in Yopougon, while Eranove is building a 390 MW plant in Jacqueville, known as Atinkou (CIPREL V).

To supply feedstock to the new turbines, investments had to be made in gas production, processing, and distribution. To that purpose, Côte d’Ivoire’s Council of Ministers adopted in March 2020 four decrees that renewed the Exclusive Exploitation Authorizations of the Foxtrot (F Zone), Mahi, Manta and Marlin fields on block CI-27. Each decree extended the fields’ EEA by another ten years to ensure continued and reliable supplies of gas to the CIPREL V and Azito 4 power plants.

Meanwhile, fresh exploration has yielded tremendous results offshore with the discovery of the Baleine field by Eni on blocks CI-101 and CI-802 in 2021. Baleine is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest recent finds with 2.5 billion barrels of oil and 3.3 Tcf of gas discovered at the Baleine-1X well in 2021 and Baleine East-1X well in 2022.

The development of the discovery was quickly approved by Côte d’Ivoire’s authorities and benefit from strong political support to fast-track the project and achieve first oil in 2023 (Phase 1).

Such news has given hopes that this is just the beginning for Côte d’Ivoire’s oil & gas sector and more operators are expected to enter the market moving forward. In July 2022, Côte d’Ivoire’s Cabinet notably gave its greenlight for the negotiations of production sharing contracts (PSCs) for blocks CI-520, CI-521, and CI-522 with British independent Elephant Oil.

Details on the development of block C-27 offshore Côte d’Ivoire are available in the “Projects” section within you Hawilti+ research terminal – plus.hawilti.com.

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