Cote D’ivoire Braces To Rival Ghana In Oil Production

Tullow PixCote d’Ivoire says it will boost oil production within five years to 200,000 barrels a day, rivaling Ghana as stability returns to a country racked by a decade of civil war.

Cote d’Ivoire wants oil companies to increase exploration and drilling offshore after output more than halved to about 30,000 barrels a day because of technical problems, Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan said in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday.

Ghana pumps about 100,000 barrels a day and wants to more than double output to 250,000 by 2021. She is West Africa’s fourth-largest producer, after Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

“We have about fifty oil blocks of which half have been awarded,” Prime Minister Duncan said in Abidjan, adding “We expect to add at least five wells a year.”

President Alassane Ouattara has pledged to spur economic growth by investing in energy and infrastructure to sustain growth near 10 per cent annually.

The economy of the world’s largest cocoa producer has expanded at a faster pace than sub-Saharan African nations since gross domestic product contracted in 2011 following the post-election violence.

The Ivorian government will sell Eurobonds in the first half of the year, the first since a 2011 default, to fund the projects and is turning to China for additional financing.

The economy will expand 10 per cent this year, from 9 per cent in 2013, Prime Minister Duncan said.

Yields on Cote d’Ivoire’s $2.5 billion of dollar bonds due 2032 rose three basis points to 7.49 per cent on Tuesday in London, where the debt is listed.

Foreign donors have pledged $8.6 billion to fund $19 billion of projects in the Cote d’Ivoire in the next two years. Chinese agencies and banks, including the Export-Import Bank of China, plan to lend $10 billion to fund infrastructure projects in the next six years at below market rates, Planning Minister Albert Mabri Toikeusse said in July.

The Chinese have offered Cote d’Ivoire 20- to 25-year loans with interest rates between 2 per cent and 3 percent, Prime Minister Duncan said.

Cote d’Ivoire missed out on soaring oil prices in the past few years as output dropped to 30,000 barrels a day last year from about 60,000 barrels a day in 2008. Total SA (FP), U.K.-based Tullow Oil Plc. (TLW) and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. operate in Cote d’Ivoire.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire ended a dispute over the delineation of a maritime boundary in which an oilfield is located.

The government is also reviewing its mining regulations as it plans to receive increased revenue from an expanding mining industry, Prime Minister Duncan said. “The state has begun to impose order in the sector,” he said.

Cote d’Ivoire contains reserves of gold, diamonds, nickel, manganese and iron ore. Parliament is set to endorse a new mining code while a minimum investment level for prospect licenses was set last year.

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