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UPDATE 1-Ivory Coast awards Tullow two new offshore oil blocks

Kitco News

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ABIDJAN, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast has awarded Tullow Oil two new onshore oil blocks, a government spokesman said on Thursday, expanding the company's footprint in the Gulf of Guinea.

The two blocks - CI-521 and CI-522 - are near Ivory Coast's eastern border with Ghana, where Tullow operates the Jubilee oil and gas field and is developing the TEN fields.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting in Abidjan, government spokesman Bruno Kone said SECI, a unit of French industrial group Bouygues , had also signed contracts for two blocks.

SECI paid a signing bonus of $2.5 million while Tullow paid $1.125 million, Kone said, adding that Ivory Coast's state oil company Petroci retained a 10 percent stake in all four blocks.

London-listed Tullow now has stakes in seven Ivorian blocks, having bought 90 percent stakes in four other onshore blocks in October. It also has a 21.33 percent position in the Espoir field, which is operated by Canada's CNR . In September, an international tribunal ruled in favour of Ghana in a dispute with Ivory Coast over the two countries' maritime boundary, clearing the way for Tullow to resume development of its acreage along the border. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Tim Cocks and David Evans)

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