* Total and partners to spend $200-$300 mln exploring 3 blocks
* Gulf of Guinea exploration picked up after Ghana’s Jubilee find
* 2014 to see intensified exploration in Ivory Coast, says Total
By Loucoumane Coulibaly
ABIDJAN, Nov 6 (Reuters) - France’s Total with partners Anadarko and Canada’s CNR will spend up to $300 million to drill exploration wells on three offshore blocks in Ivory Coast in 2014, the head of Total’s local unit said on Wednesday.
Oil and gas exploration in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea has risen sharply since Ghana discovered its giant Jubilee field in 2007 and brought it to production in record time in late 2010.
Total said in April it had discovered oil on its CI-100 block in Ivory Coast’s eastern waters adjacent to the maritime boundary with Ghana.
Nicolas Payer, managing director of Total Cote d‘Ivoire , said the new exploration wells would be drilled on its blocks near Ivory Coast’s western border.
“2014 will be a phase of intensified exploration in Ivory Coast,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of a gas conference in the commercial capital Abidjan.
“We plan three wells on blocks 514, 515 and 516 in proximity to (the town of) Sassandra. We foresee spending between $200 and $300 million...It will be financed by the consortium,” he said.
All three concessions are ultra-deepwater blocks.
Total owns a 54 percent interest in CI-514, with Canadian Natural Resources International at 36 percent and Ivorian state oil company Petroci controlling the remaining 10 percent.
Total and Anadarko each control 45 percent of the other two blocks with Petroci controlling 10 percent.