At the end of August, Africa Oil Week (AOW), which is the voice of E&P, the global platform for stimulating deals and transactions across the African upstream, gave a thumbs up to Côte d’Ivoire for achieving its first oil production from its Baleine oilfield. The major talking point about Baleine, which is the largest oil find in the West African country, is its net-zero emissions production system. Eni Energies et Services Côte d’Ivoire, a subsidiary of Italian multinational energy company Eni, which owns 90%, says the Baleine emissions will be compensated through innovative initiatives, in line with the net-zero strategy. It partners with Petroci, Côte d’Ivoire’s national oil company, which owns 10%. For instance, since June 2022, the company has been distributing energy-efficient cookstoves, produced locally, to over 1 million people for the next 6 years.
In addition, a forest recovery and preservation project covering the 380,000-hectare area is being undertaken in collaboration with the Ivorian Ministry of Water and Forestry for a feasibility study in the areas identified. The majority of the activities are being implemented in conjunction with local institutions. These are aimed: at preventing deforestation in the identified areas, as specified by the UN REDD+ program; increasing forestry areas in the country which are primary natural resources for carbon storage; and preserving the areas through a sustainable forest management system. Over the past few years, Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministère des Mines, du Pétrole et de l’Energie has successfully brought investments into the sector with market activity picking up across the exploration, production, and energy infrastructure segments. To become a net-zero emissions energy business indicates that the company involved is reducing emissions from its oil production operations, and from the fuels and other energy products it sells to its customers. It also means capturing and storing any remaining emissions using technology or balancing them with compensations or offsets. Advantages accruable from Baleine net-zero project Some advantages will arise to the West African country, thereby impacting positively in mitigating its climate challenges. For example, lower carbon oil and gas supplies provide bridge fuels on the energy transition pathway. Additionally, oil produced with a lower amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has a lower carbon intensity than crudes produced with higher emissions. Also, aiming for net zero will give rise to small businesses becoming more resilient against market or national disruptions. For instance, the use of the eco-friendly cooking stove introduced by Eni Cote d’Ivoire will help protect households and especially food-business owners from rising fuel costs and disruptions in fuel supply chains in the country.