Ivorian oil output may double in two years

Ivory Coast's crude oil production could double to 100,000 bpd within the next two years if a technical problem with its main field is solved, an official said recently.

The rosy outlook comes as the West African state seeks to develop its energy and mining sectors to hedge against declines in its cocoa industry.

Output from the offshore Baobab field, operated by Canadian Natural Resources, has been hamstrung by silting in the reservoir, but a solution may be found soon, N'Dri Koffi, Ivory Coast's representative to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) told Reuters in an interview.

"There are some problems with the Baobab field, which is silted. Solutions are being found and production could hit 100,000 barrels per day in two years," he said.

Ivory Coast has been low on the list of African crude oil producers since it began development of its fields in the 1980s with output peaking earlier this decade at just above 60,000 bpd, compared with around 2 mn bpd in Nigeria.

The country produced some 50,000 bpd of crude in 2009 from Baobab and the smaller Espoir reservoirs, up slightly from the 45,200 bpd produced in 2008, Koffi said.

Ivory Coast became a candidate country for international EITI programme in 2008, a step seen by donor countries as important to winning debt relief.

Koffi said Ivory Coast's EITI committee would start to release figures of oil output and revenues every three months.

He said state revenues from the oil sector were forecast to reach 130 bn CFA francs in 2010.


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