Total-led consortium finalises deal to develop Ivory Coast LNG sector


 By Loucoumane Coulibaly

ABIDJAN, Nov 24 (Reuters) - French oil major Total (TOTF.PA) , the Ivorian state oil company and four other partners formally established a consortium on Thursday to build a liquid natural gas (LNG) import terminal meant to feed the country's growing electricity consumption.

Demand for electricity is rising in Francophone West Africa's largest economy by some 10 percent a year, and the energy minister said last year that $20 billion of investment is needed in the industry over the next 15 years.

According to Thursday's agreement, the new company, called Cote d'Ivoire-GNL, is 34 percent owned by Total while the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) (STOAR.UL) controls 26 percent and Ivorian state oil company Petroci 16 percent.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) , Houston-based Endeavor Energy (EERL.UL) and Golar LNG (GLNG.O) also hold minority stakes.

"Many electricity-producing projects are awaiting a gas supply to really kick off," Ibrahima Diaby, the director general of Petroci said at the signing ceremony.

The project aims to conceive, build and operate a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) with initial capacity of 100 million cubic feet that would gradually be brought up to 400 million cubic feet, Diaby said.

The cost of the project, expected to take about 18 months to complete, has also been reduced to $100 million from an earlier estimate of $200 million, he added.

Ivory Coast has the region's most reliable power production sector and exports electricity to its neighbours. Petroci said in July that it hopes to double oil and gas output by 2020 by developing offshore reserves in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea. 

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