The Baleine project is the largest finding of hydrocarbons made by an energy company in Côte d'Ivoire, as well as the first commercial discovery made in the Country, in the past 20 years. In particular, it will allow the country to further increase domestic access to energy. Thanks to this discovery, Côte d'Ivoire will also strengthen its role as a regional energy hub for neighbouring countries. The country has one of the most extensive electricity systems in West Africa and currently about 10-20% of its electricity production is exported to Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin, Togo and Liberia. Baleine’s gas production is therefore strategic since it will increase domestic and regional supply, while oil production will be instrumental in boosting exports. And there’s more: Baleine will be the first net-zero emission development (Scope 1 and 2) in Africa, thanks to innovative projects.
The exploration in a nutshell
In September 2021, we drilled the NFW Baleine 1X well, located in Block CI-101, about 50 km off the coast of Abidjan at a water depth of about 1,200 m, finding a significant oil and associated gas discovery, which also extends into Block CI-802, where we successfully drilled a well in August 2022.
Less than two years after the discovery and less than a year and a half after the Final Investment Decision, in August 2023 we started production from the field.
The Baleine project development
To optimise the potential of the field and investments, the development strategy is carried out in phases, following an approach that sets us apart. Phase 1 is scheduled to start in August 2023. The FPSO Firenze vessel, renamed FPSO Baleine, is used to exploit the field in Phase 1, which sailed from Dubai on 6 April 2023, where it had been docked and underwent refitting and upgrading to the latest technologies, will be used for Phase 1, while Phase 2 is expected to start by the end of 2024, using an existing FPSO, which will be renovated to ensure an initial boost, optimizing costs and times and minimizing raw and construction material waste. From the FPSO, directly connected to the production wells, the oil is loaded onto tankers and transported to destination, while the gas is sent across land to the Abidjan plant, through a dedicated gas pipeline, supplying the electric market in Côte d'Ivoire and the region. The Phase 3 aims to elevate field production up to 150,000 bbl/d of oil and 200 Mscf/d of gas.
Baleine’s phased development strategy
Start of production through FPSO Baleine in August 2023
A FPSO being updated to the latest technologies will be used. Start-up is scheduled for the end of 2024
Progressive increase in production
Emission-compensating initiatives: forestry and improved cookstoves
The Baleine emissions will be compensated through innovative initiatives, in line with the Net-Zero strategy. Since June 2022, we are distributing energy-efficient cookstoves, produced locally, to over 1 million people in the next 6 years.
Furthermore, some projects are being defined for the preservation, recovery and management of forests covering a 380,000-hectare area, including forests in various parts of the country. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Ministry of Water and Forestry for a feasibility study in the areas identified. The majority of the activities, implemented in conjunction with local Institutions, will start in 2023, aiming to:
- prevent deforestation in the areas identified, as specified by the UN REDD+ Program
- increase forestry areas, which are a primary natural resource for carbon storage
- preserve the areas identified, through sustainable forest management.
To improve the living conditions of families and reduce the carbon footprint, we have begun distributing improved cookstoves.Find out more
Safety in the workplace is an imperative value we want to share with our employees, contractors and local stakeholders. We are committed to eliminate accidents and protect the integrity of our assets. We consolidate a culture of safety through management and organization models, digital tools and communication initiatives. Our goal is strengthening the awareness of our people and their sense of responsibility toward themselves and others, by expanding HSE tools and digitalization to make corporate processes safer, more efficient and faster.
Our results to date
cubic feet (TCF) of associated gas (discovery's potential)
involved in forestry preservation, recovery and management projects
who will benefit overall from the distribution of improved cookstoves
Keep up to date with the latest news about our work in the country and our projects in the region.
Read also about E&P activities
Selected contents on this issue.