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Friday, July 19, 2024

Liberia: Oil & Electricity Dominate Boakai Talks with Côte d’Ivoire

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President Boakai Thursday held talks with Ivorian counterpart Alassane Ouattara on regional stability, trade and energy security as the former aims to revitalize struggling domestic economy following his ascendency to the leadership of a nation once ravaged by wars and deadly health pandemic.

“The President’s itinerary in Cote d’Ivoire will cover visits to establishments such as TRANSCO CSLG and the National Center for Agronomical Research, with the aim of fostering knowledge exchange, skill-sharing, and technological cooperation between the two nations,” the presidency sai d in a statement prior to the meeting.

Notes sharing on hydrocarbon development was most likely. West Africa has emerged as a vibrant producer since the 2010s. Ivory Coast is becoming a major player after Italian energy company Eni started production off the Ivory Coast in the Baleine oil and gas field.

Eni believes the field will yield 150,000 barrels of oil and 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Peak oil production would be equivalent to the inland Appalachia basin in the United States, the second-lowest oil producer. Gas production would be minimal relative to U.S. natural gas,it said.

Eni had registered Interest in Liberia’s untapped hydrocarbon sector, teaming up with Chevron to explore three deepwater licenses offshore in August 2013. The Italian signed an agreement taking stakes in blocks LB11, LB12 and LB14 covering 9,560 sq km in water depths up to 3,000 meters.

With success in Ivory Coast, Eni has expressed interest in the undrilled Harper Basin, according to people with knowledge of their operation.

The Harper Basin, considered to offer very good hydrocarbon proceptivity lies offshore Liberia between the Liberian-Sierra Leone Basin to the north, and the Ivorian/Tano Basin to the south-east.

It covers approximately 20,000 km2, extending from shelf to basin floor and is an embayment formed between two transform ridges: Grand Cess to the north and Cape Palmas to the south. The geological structure and tectonic history of this basin is similar to that of adjacent ones.

The Ivorian/Tano Basin is a proven oil producer that contains several large oil fields, including the Jubilee Field, while the Liberian Basin is still relatively early in the exploration cycle but has had several oil discoveries over the last five years.

Electricity

Ivory Coast is leveraging natural gas capabilities to power its electricity plants, bolstering the country’s energy security and sustainability while fostering regional collaboration.

Electricity is part of President Boakai discussion with the Ivorian leader.

Liberia’s sole power utility has been negotiating with neighboring Guinea and the Ivory Coast to import energy as its lone hydroelectric power capacity weakens with dam levels dipping in the dry season.

In December 2023 the Liberia Electricity Corporation was reportedly in active negotiations with regional counterparts to secure mutually beneficial power purchase agreements as the dry season intensifies.

Liberia relies heavy on hydropower as its primary source of electricity.  However with t he country having entered the dry season, it anticipates a significant decrease in dam levels.

This reduction in water levels will result in a diminished capacity for hydropower generation, leading to a shortfall in electricity production.  In the absence of alternative sources of supply,  load shedding becomes the only option open to LEC to manage the imbalance between demand and supply.

This year’s power outages seem worst in recent years.

Festus Poquie

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