The oil and gas industry has increased the exploration and development of the potential resource base of Cote d'Ivoire, as operators expand across the globe in search of future supply for energy consumers.

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Overview
Cote d'Ivoire is located in West Africa and is sometime called the Ivory Coast. The country reported an average daily production of 44,000 barrels per day in February 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration

SEE: Oil And Gas Industry Primer

Operators
Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ) is active in Cote d'Ivoire and has interests in various developed and undeveloped fields. The company operates the Baobab field located in deep water Block CK-40 and started up production from here in 2005. Canadian Natural Resources plans further development at this field and is planning five wells at the Baobab field with first oil expected in late 2014.

It recently acquired a 36% interest in offshore Block CI-514 and plans to conduct a seismic program here and an exploration well. The company believes that this block may be geologically similar to recent oil and gas discoveries in Ghana.

The company is also working at the Espoir field and recently approved an eight well drilling program here. It plans to commence drilling at Espoir in late 2012.

Canadian Natural Resources sees potential in Cote d'Ivoire and other areas in offshore Africa, and plans to spend $140 million here in 2012, up from $33 million in 2011.

SEE: What Determines Oil Prices?

Tullow Oil (LSE:TLW.L) recently reported a successful well on offshore Block CI-103. The company found 100 net feet of oil play and confirmed that an upper cretaceous formation present in Ghana also extends into the offshore Cote d'Ivoire region.

Tullow is the operator of Block CI-514 and owns a 45% working interest in the block. Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) is also involved and holds a 40% interest in this offshore block. Anadarko operates Block CI-105 and recently reported an unsuccessful exploratory well here. The company said that the Kosrou prospect discovered a water bearing formation and was noncommercial.

Total (NYSE:TOT) does not have any current production from Cote d'Ivoire but has interests in various offshore blocks. The company operates and owns the CI-100 block and recently completed a seismic survey of this area, with plans to drill an exploration well near the end of 2012.

Total also purchased interests in deepwater blocks CI-514, CI-515 and CI-516 and plans to start a seismic program on these blocks shortly.

SEE: A Guide To Investing In Oil Markets

The Bottom Line
Cote d'Ivoire is only a minor part of the world's supply of oil and gas, but has still attracted some of the largest oil and gas companies as they look to generate growth and supply.

At the time of writing, Eric Fox did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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