Eni said it started Monday production of oil and gas from the Baleine Field, located in the waters offshore Côte d’Ivoire. This milestone comes less than two years after the discovery in September 2021 and less than a year and a half after the Final Investment Decision. This marks the first emissions-free – Scope 1 and 2 – production project in Africa.
Baleine currently stands as the largest hydrocarbon discovery in Ivorian sedimentary basin. The fast time-to-market was made possible through Eni’s phased development approach characteristic of recent projects, and along with its partner Petroci full collaboration. For the initial phase, production takes place through the Baleine FPSO, a refurbished and upgraded Floating Production Storage and Offloading unit capable of handling up to 15,000 bbl/d of oil and around 25 Mscf/d of associated gas. The start of Phase 2 is expected by the end of 2024 and will increase field production to 50,000 bbl/d of oil and approximately 70 Mscf/d of associated gas. The third development phase aims to elevate field production up to 150,000 bbl/d of oil and 200 Mscf/d of gas.
The entire gas production from the Baleine Field in this development phase and the subsequent ones will be delivered onshore through a newly constructed pipeline. This will enable the country to meet its domestic electricity market demands, facilitate energy access, and strengthen its role as a regional energy hub for neighboring countries.
The project leverages the best available technologies to minimize emissions. Residual emissions are offset through initiatives developed within the country, including supplying and distributing improved stoves to local communities, eliminating the need for wood or coal for cooking. The stove distribution program, initiated in 2022, is expected to reach over one million people in the next 6 years. Simultaneously, Eni has launched studies for Nature-Based Solutions projects covering 380,000 hectares of protected forests.
Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, remarked, “The first oil from Baleine is a milestone in Eni’s operations. Stemming from an extraordinary exploration success, we have achieved an industry-leading time-to-market of under 2 years from the declaration of commercial discovery. This outcome expresses the core principles of our strategy, encompassing Africa’s pioneering net-zero project, accelerated development, local gas supply, and the promotion of a just transition”.
In Côte d’Ivoire, Eni is engaged in a series of projects aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Besides school refurbishment initiatives and workshops to enhance teacher skills benefiting around 8,500 students, a five-year agreement has been established with the Institut National Polytechnique Houphouët Boigny to train about 400 executives and technicians in the energy sector. Within the realm of community health, initiatives have been initiated to enhance access to healthcare services in 20 clinics located in vulnerable areas across different regions of the country. In the vocational training sphere, two projects have been launched for professional integration in the energy, automotive, and textile sectors, involving approximately 450 youths.
Eni’s presence in Côte d’Ivoire dates back to the 1960s with Agip Côte d’Ivoire. Eni re-entered the country in 2015 and currently holds interests in the CI-101 and CI-802 blocks – where the Baleine field extends – as well as in four other deep-water Ivorian blocks: CI-205, CI-501, CI-401, and CI-801, all with the same partner, Petroci Holding.