Ivory Coast signs deals with ExxonMobil for two oil blocks

ABIDJAN, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast has signed production sharing agreements with oil giant Exxon Mobil for two ultra-deepwater blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, the West African nation’s oil minister said.

The deal covers Ivory Coast’s CI-602 and CI-603 blocks, which cover 3,874 and 5,543 square kilometres respectively and vary in depth from 3,000 to 4,000 metres.

“The maximum exploration period is nine years for each block and, in the case of a commercial discovery, the length of the contract will be 25 years,” Oil and Energy Minister Adama Toungara said in a statement emailed on Wednesday.

Ivory Coast is seeking investors for seven new ultra-deepwater blocks and held a promotional event in Houston, Texas in October.

Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan said his government was also in negotiations with Norway’s AGR Group for a production sharing agreement for the CI-101 and CI-524 blocks and with France’s Total for CI-605. (Reporting by Joe Bavier; editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and David Clarke)