In June 2019, we signed contracts for the two new exploration blocks CI-501 and CI-504 located in the eastern part of the sedimentary basin off the coast of Ivory Coast. The CI-501 block lies between 100 and 2,400 metres underwater, about 80 km south-west of the capital Abidjan. The CI-504 block (399 square kilometres) is between 1,000 and 2,350 metres, about 60 km south-west of the capital. We are the operator in both blocks with a 90% stake, while the state-owned Petroci holds the remaining 10%. The blocks are adjacent to the northern limit of Block CI-205. The geological continuity will mean they can be studied in synergy, using proprietary technologies and optimising costs. In 2015, through the subsidiary, Eni Côte d’Ivoire Limited, we acquired 30% of the CI-100 offshore exploration block. In March 2017, we were awarded two new exploration blocks called CI-101 and CI-205 located 50 km off the coast. The CI-101 block is located between 200 and 2,500 meters of water depth, 50 km south of the capital Abidjan, while the CI-205 block is between 2,000 and 2,700 metres and 80 km south-west of the capital. We are the operator in both blocks with a 90% stake, while the state-owned Petroci holds the remaining 10%.
In September 2021 we announced a major oil and associated gas discovery in block CI-101 offshore Ivory Coast. The well was drilled about 60 kilometers off the coast, in about 1,200 meters of water depth with the Saipem 10,000 drill ship. The discovery well Baleine-1x, been drilled on the Baleine prospect, is the first exploration well drilled by Eni in the Ivory Coast, and the first commercial discovery in the country in 20 years. The potential of the discovery is estimated of over 2.0 billion barrels of oil in place and approximately 2.4 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of associated gas, with potential upside. In December 2021 the President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, has met with Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi to discuss the status of the fast-tracked development of the Baleine discovery, which will be the first net-zero development in Africa for scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. The project, with start-up by 2023, will leverage the best available technologies to minimize GHG emissions, implementing high efficiency plant solutions, process energy recovery and the reduction and control of fugitive emissions. Carbon neutrality will leverage on certain emission reduction drivers by means of improved cookstoves and forest conservation (REDD+) initiatives. Baleine confirms Eni’s commitment to generate high value while reducing the carbon footprint and focus to improve the time-to-market of exploration discoveries.
As part of the meeting, and in order to promote decarbonisation in the country, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which provides for:
- initiatives in the field of Natural Climate Solution aimed at offsetting greenhouse gas emissions through the protection, sustainable management and restoration of degraded natural ecosystems
- agricultural development initiatives focused on the cultivation of oil crops and the collection of natural waste and Used Cooking Oil (UCO), to be used as bio-feedstock for biorefineries (biogas, biomethane)
- the identification and possible development of power production projects from renewable or low carbon sources, with a focus on solar power
- the implementation of local development projects in line with the National Development Plans of the Government of Cote d’Ivoire and with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, including clean cooking initiatives focused on the construction and distribution of improved cookstoves which contribute to access to energy and emission offset, while at the same time creating development opportunities for local SMEs.
In addition, we signed a MoU between Eni Corporate University and the Institut National Polytechnique Houphouët-Boigny to cooperate on capacity building initiatives to contribute to the training of local human resources.