Azonto Petroleum has been granted an exclusive exploitation authorisation (EEA) covering Gazelle field in Block CI-202 offshore Côte d’Ivoire
The award followed the approval of the field development plan for the offshore field by state-owned oil company Petroci on 31 October 2014.
Azonto Petroleum’s affiliate Vioco Petroleum has been working towards project that might be taken up in the first half of 2015 with first gas production in the second half of 2016.
Azonto Petroleum managing director Rob Shepherd said, “The announcement is a welcome development for Azonto Petroleum and its shareholders. Overall progress on Gazelle has been much slower than originally anticipated but award of the EEA by the President of Côte d’Ivoire is visible confirmation of continued support for the project from the highest level.”
The West African country also recently signed production sharing agreements with ExxonMobil for two ultra-deepwater blocks in the Gulf of Guinea.
The CI-602 and CI-603 blocks cover 3,874 and 5,543 sq km respectively and vary in depth from 3,000 metres to 4,000 metres.
“The maximum exploration period is nine years for each block and in the case of a commercial discovery the length of the contract will be 25 years,” oil and energy minister Adama Toungara said.
Côte d’Ivoire has been seeking investors for seven new ultra-deepwater blocks and held a promotional event at Texas in October this year. Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan added that his government was also in negotiations with Norway’s AGR Group for a PSA for the CI-101 and CI-524 blocks and with Total for Block CI-605.