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Eni, Vitol pick up new oil block offshore Ghana

London — Eni and Vitol have been awarded an exploration and production license in Block WB03 located in Ghana's prolific offshore Western Basin under a competitive bidding process, the companies said in a joint statement Wednesday.

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Italy's Eni will be the operator of the license, along with partners Vitol, state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and a local registered company that will be identified during the contract finalization.

The block is part of Ghana's first oil and gas licensing round, launched in October last year.

The West African nation, which became an oil producer in 2010 when it began pumping from the offshore Jubilee field, is keen to unlock its vast oil and gas resources.

Ghana produces about 180,000-200,000 b/d, half of which comes from the flagship Jubilee field operated by Tullow Oil. Most of the remaining oil is produced from Eni's Offshore Cape Three Points block, home to the Sankofa production hub. Gas is piped from the hub to an onshore receiving terminal and used domestically in Ghana.

In May, Eni and Vitol made a gas and condensate discovery with their first exploration well in the OCTP-Block 4 offshore Ghana. Eni's gross production in Ghana is around 70,000 b/d of oil equivalent.

Ghana's proved oil reserves stood at 660 million barrels at the end of 2017, according to the CIA World Factbook, equivalent to about nine years of production at current levels.

-- Eklavya Gupte,

-- Edited by James Burgess,