Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said Monday it started production off the Ivory Coast in the Baleine oil and gas field, an accomplishment made less than two years after the initial discovery.
Eni said the Baleine field is the largest of its kind off the Ivorian coast. Output from an offshore production vessel will begin gradually, with an initial 15,000 barrels of oil and 25 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day.
At its peak, Eni believes the field will yield 150,000 barrels of oil and 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. To put that in context, 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.
Nevertheless, West Africa has emerged as a vibrant producer since the 2010s. Eni added that all of the gas from the field would move onshore through a new pipeline that will help Ivory Coast address its domestic electricity needs.
"Stemming from an extraordinary exploration success, we have achieved an industry-leading time-to-market of under two years from the declaration of commercial discovery," Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said.
The start of production came less than a year and a half after a final investment decision.
Political conflict has mired Ivory Coast at least since the early 2000s. While its energy potential was being realized, it was engaged in territorial disputes over maritime borders with its neighbors.