Gazelle FID slows for Azonto

FID delay: For Azonto and partners off Ivory Coast

Azonto Petroleum has put back a final investment decision (FID) for a gas projects off West Africa due to slower-than-expected progress with a pipeline.

The Africa-focused player still hopes, however, to make an FID on the Gazelle gas project off Ivory Coast by the end of this year.

London-based Azonto, whose 35%-controlled affiliate Vioco Petroleum operates Block CI-202, said good progress has already been made on Gazelle – namely acquiring an offshore platform, the pipeline to shore and a gas processing facility.

“Similar good progress has been made in discussions with the state owned electricity company, CI-Energies, the proposed gas buyer in respect of the gas sales agreement,” it said on Wednesday.

“Less progress than anticipated has been made in recent months in regard to the proposed gas pipeline from Grand Bassam to Abidjan where the current installed thermal power capacity is located.

“Consequently, it has not been possible to progress certain activities, such as detailed discussions with financial institutions ... to a level that would enable (an FID) to be taken by Vioco in (the first half of the year), as had previously been anticipated.

“The base case for the project remains supply of gas via pipeline to Abidjan. However Vioco continues to evaluate temporary power generation at Grand Bassam as a potential interim solution and is currently in active discussions with CI-Energies on this option that Vioco believes is being considered favourably.”

Azonto is confident an FID can he taken in the second half of the year, with first gas by around mid-2016.

Azonto has been negotiating with state oil player Petroci and the Ministry of Energy on a $200 million capital development plan for the Gazelle gas field.

Azonto and partner Vitol are seeking approval to develop Gazelle which hosts proven reserves of 85 billion cubic feet and additional oil and gas potential.

Petroci said earlier this year that exploration of CI-202 may be restarter later this year.

On Wednesday Azonto said Vioco's subsurface team is reviewing the existing discoveries  and additional prospects on the block “with a view to identifying the optimum shallow water prospect for exploration drilling in conjunction with the Gazelle development drilling campaign”.

Discussions on how best to pursue additional drilling of deeper-water prospects continues.

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