PERTH, Australia – Rialto Energy expects to resume work on a development project offshore Cote d’Ivoire.
The company says the political and economic climate in the country has improved since the new president, Alassane Outtara, was sworn in at a recent ceremony in the capital Yamoussoukro.
Many of the sanctions imposed on the previous regime have been lifted. These extended to national oil company Petroci, Rialto’s partner in offshore block CI 202, preventing Rialto from engaging with third-party contractors, and thereby implementing its proposed program for the block.
However, Rialto representatives have travelled to Abidjan to discuss a resumption with the Director General of Hydrocarbons and Petroci. It adds that other better known operators - Tullow, ENI, Anadarko, Lukoil and CNR – expect to reactivate their multi-well programs over the coming year.
In the meantime, Rialto has continued technical studies of CI 202, evaluating various drilling and development scenarios. Drilling on the block should now start early in 2012.
Mapping of drilling prospects in the Gazelle and Hippo areas is well advanced, and ongoing subsurface work has led to identification of further exploration upside.
Over the next six months, the company expects to:
- finalize the costs of its proposed 6 Phase 1 facility engineering cost estimates for the Gazelle area
- complete seismic interpretation and volumetric evaluation over pre-existing data
- complete its drilling and prospect inventory
- sign a rig contract
- finalize the schedule for the first two to three planned wells
- complete a field development plan and a reserves and resource update for submission and approval to the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Petroci.
The company has finished work on an environmental impact assessment and expects to award a contract shortly for site survey operations prior to drilling on the Gazelle area.
Rialto is examining drilling rig tenders to cover both the 50 m (164 ft) water depths in the Gazelle area and the 90 m (295 ft) water depth over the Hippo area.
The 2012 drilling program will likely include exploration and development wells.