Italian explorer ENI has commenced 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”, ENI says in a release. “This marks the first emissions-free – Scope 1 and 2 – production project in Africa”, the company claims.
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 Barrels of Oil Per Day(BOPD)and around 25Million standard cubic feet of gas per day (MMscf/d)of associated gas.
The start of Phase 2 is expected by the end of 2024 and will increase field production to 50,000BOPD of oil and approximately 70MMscf/d of associated gas.
The third development phase aims to elevate field production up to 150,000BOPD of oil and 200MMscf/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”, ENI says.
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.
“The first oil from Baleine is a milestone in ENI’s operations”, says Claudio Descalzi, the company’s CEO.
“Stemming from an extraordinary exploration success, we have achieved an industry-leading time-to-market of under two 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”.