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Côte d’Ivoire's exploration drive rebooted

Can an overhaul of concessions lure companies to the country's frontier acreage?

The acquisition of four exploration licenses by Tullow Oil in October was a boon for Côte d'Ivoire's energy ministry, which is keen to build on modest oil and gas production by reawakening interest in frontier acreage. The ministry has just finished a revision of the country's block map covering 87,000 sq km of sedimentary basin, mostly offshore. Some blocks have been redrawn to make them more attractive by amalgamating them with neighbours to increase their size. Ultra-deep-water acreage is now on offer in addition to onshore, shallow-water and deep-water blocks. The country is allocating blocks not via a bid round, but through direct negotiations—a process which its energy minister, Thie

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