Ivory Coast aims to double oil and gas output by 2020

Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:11pm EDT
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By Loucoumane Coulibaly

YAMOUSSOUKRO, July 13 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast aims to roughly double oil and gas output by 2020 as it pushes for foreign investment in offshore exploration, the head of state oil and gas company Petroci said on Wednesday.

While it has developed natural gas deposits for domestic consumption, French-speaking West Africa's largest economy has ignored its energy sector for decades as the government concentrated on developing agricultural exports.

Authorities are now seeking to develop offshore reserves in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea.

"Today we have around 60 blocks. We've awarded about 20," Petroci's Managing Director Ibrahima Diaby said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Ivory Coast's capital Yamoussoukro.

"With current exploration our ambition is to reach 200,000 BOE (barrel of oil equivalent) in 2020," he said.

That's around twice current output levels.

Companies either currently conducting exploration in Ivory Coast or preparing to do so include France's Total, U.S. firms Exxon Mobil and Anadarko, and Africa-focused Tullow Oil.

Russia's second-largest oil producer Lukoil withdrew from its Ivorian operations earlier this year.   Continued...