Total Buys Stakes in Three New Ultra-Deepwater Exploration Licenses

French oil major Total announced Friday that it has acquired interests in three new ultra-deep offshore licenses in Côte d’Ivoire, after it signed production sharing agreements with the country's government and Petroci (Côte d’Ivoire's national oil company).

Total will operate the CI-514 license with a 54-percent interest, in partnership with Canadian Natural Ressources International (36 percent) and Petroci (10 percent). Total will also hold a 45-percent interest in the CI-515 and CI-516 licenses, alongside Anadarko (45 percent) and Petroci (10 percent).
For each block Total will become the operator upon the first commercial discovery. 
The licenses are situated approximately 62 miles (100 kilometers) offshore Côte d’Ivoire and cover an area of 1,235 square miles (3,200 square kilometers) with water depths ranging from 6560 to 9,840 feet (2,000 to 3,000 meters). The work program includes a 3D seismic survey of the whole acreage and one well to be drilled on each block during the initial three-year exploration period. 
"Total is very pleased with this new exploration opportunity in Côte d’Ivoire’s ultra-deep offshore, a field in which our expertise is globally recognized," said Marc Blaizot, Total’s Senior Vice President, Exploration. "The so-called Abrupt Margin theme that we will be exploring in this acreage is a core growth driver for the future. In particular, we are targeting the same theme in exploration licenses in French Guiana, where a promising discovery has already been made, and in Mauritania."
Total is already present in exploration activities in Côte d’Ivoire as operator of the CI-100 deep offshore license, with a 60-percent participation. This license covers a surface of 772 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) in water depths from 4,920 to 10,170 feet (1,500 to 3,100 meters). A complementary seismic campaign of 386 square miles (1,000 square kilometers) was launched end 2011 in order to finalize the 3D studies of the whole permit. First exploration drilling is planned for end 2012.