Côte d’Ivoire Stimulates a Robust Domestic Market with Low Gas Reserves

Even with relatively low reserves of natural gas, Côte d’Ivoire is establishing an energy leadership in West Africa.

With just about 1 Trillion cubic feet, the 67th in the world, the country has taken several initiatives to monetize natural gas across power generation and public transport.

Two gas to power projects with combined 643MW capacity, have recently reached financial close.

And 150 buses will be running on Compressed Natural Gas by this time next year, a threefold increase from the 50 vehicles that were introduced for the pilot project in 2018.

Since January 2020, Côte d’Ivoire has secured key financing for its major gas-to-power projects, Azito and Atinkou. The former is a brownfield expansion of the existing Azito gas-to-power station, a 460MW plant owned and operated by Globeleq which uses natural gas supplied from Côte d’Ivoire’s offshore gas fields. Azito is being expanded by 253MW and its expansion project reached financial close in January 2020. Upon completion, the Azito plant will represent about 30 % of Côte d’Ivoire’s installed power generation capacity.  The expansion project relies on a debt financing package of EUR 264Million provided by several financial institutions such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the African Development Bank (AfDB); the West African Development Bank (BOAD); the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and a pool of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFIs). Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energies of Côte d’Ivoire, M. Abdourahmane Cisse, laid the foundation stone for Phase IV on March 7th, 2020 and first power is expected this year.

The latter, Atinkou or Ciprel V, is a project carried out by the Eranove Group, to develop a 390MW combined cycle gas-to-power station outside of Abidjan. A 20-year concession agreement was signed for the project in December 2018, and it just secured a financing package of EUR 303 million from the International Finance Corporation in March 2020. The full debt financing package was provided by several financial institutions such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO, Germany’s Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OPEC Fund).

The government is also enabling the right kind of business environment for the sector to thrive, notes African Chamber of Energy.

Four decrees were signed in the Council of Ministers on March 11th, 2020, to renew the exclusive exploitation authorization for the oil and gas fields of Foxtrot, Mahi, Manta and Marlin in Block CI-27. The decrees extend each authorization by 10 years, with the explicit goal of “ensuring the stable and continued supply of gas to the new power plants CIPREL 5 and AZITO 4 and guarantee national power supply sufficiency.”

Côte d’Ivoire’s transport company SOTRA (Abidjan’s Transport Company) has run 50 buses on compressed natural gas (CNG) since 2018. Following the successful trials, up to 150 CNG buses are expected to be driving on Abidjan’s roads by 2021.


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