Oct. 12 (UPI) -- If the commercial potential exists in oil basins inland in Ivory Coast, it won't take long to put them into production, British energy company Tullow Oil said.
For an undisclosed sum, Tullow said it was taking a 90 percent stake in four blocks in Ivory Coast from the national oil company, Petroci. Tullow said it planned to start geological surveys early next year.
"If commercial discoveries are made, the maturity of Ivory Coast's oil industry suggests a relatively short and low-cost path to production," the company stated.
Tullow already works in Ivory Coast, with a 20 year legacy as an explorer and producer. It holds a non-controlling interest in the nation's Espoir field, taking a net 4,000 barrels of oil per day.
Offshore West Africa has emerged as a bright spot for new oil and gas discoveries. African Petroleum, an independent oil and gas company with a strong regional portfolio, said early this year an exploration well off the Ivorian coast found oil, but nothing significant. African Petroleum two years ago brought in its counterparts at Ophir Energy to its license area in the Ivory Coast, which eventually led to a multi-million dollar commitment to support a production sharing contract in the region.
Past maritime border disputes between Ghana and Ivory Coast interfered with the development of the TEN oil field, operated by Tullow.
The Espoir field sits about 12 miles from shore. In the past, Tullow said it was focused heavily on assets offshore Ivory Coast. The four blocks acquired are near the shoreline west of the capital city, Abidjan.
Tullow, which has its headquarters in London, posted a loss of around $519 million for the first half of the year, after taking a pre-tax profit of $24 million during the same period last year. It reported an operating loss of $395 million, said its realized oil price of $57.30 per barrel for first half of the year was 6 percent lower than last year, and lowered its spending guidance for the year by 20 percent to $400 million.
First-half production of around 81,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day was in line with its expectations.