I never gamble but I do know people who do. Seldom does an outside prospect upset a dead certain winner but they can get in the way and occasionally they steal the day.
While we look at Brent prices and investment is being squeezed some small corners are nothing but gung ho. The Ivory Coast, an African nation of about 23 million people, is more stable than many in the area and looks to oil and gas development to secure its future.
Russian firm Lukoil withdrew interest early this year but with established resources and increasing production of both oil and gas other parties are interested. Total, Exxon Mobil, Anadarko and Tullow are all either there or seriously thinking about it. Already producing are Canadian Natural Resources and Ivory Coast’s own Foxtrot International who have been responsible for raising production to 53,000 barrels of oil and 250 million cubic sq feet of gas per day.
Encouraging possible investment in offshore drilling in the Gulf of Guinea is the nation’s dedication to improving its domestic energy efficiency and there may well be contracts awarded to build gas fired power stations. Already the area is pretty well placed with a reliable grid and increased domestic consumption.
To counterbalance the otherwise rosy outlook is a recent history of internal strife and human rights question marks. Although stable now there are significant historical factors that will take some careful risk assessment before jumping in with both feet. In addition there is long standing animosity between Ivory Coast and its eastern neighbour Ghana over offshore and border rights. This has now been settled, I only mention it because often as we know old disputes can return with a vengeance.
NB. Believe me or believe me not, I just went to check on the dispute and low and behold it is simmering again. I hope it is resolved soon but I’ll not hold my breath.