Plans are under way to expand production capacity at three of Côte d’Ivoire’s thermal power plants operated by independent power producers (IPPs) Ciprel, Azito and Aggreko, against a backdrop of rising demand. In January 2018 Thierry Tanoh, the minister for oil, energy and renewable energy development, announced that work on the new units at Ciprel and Azito’s combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants would begin in 2018.

Capacity Expansion

Azito Energie, a subsidiary of the IPP Globaleq, signed an agreement with the government in December 2017 to improve efficiency and capacity at its CCGT plant near Abidjan. The work will add a further 30 MW of capacity to the 430-MW plant, which currently supplies around 25% of Côte d’Ivoire’s electricity. Aside from saving an estimated 420,000 tonnes of CO₂ over the plant’s lifetime, the project will boost gas consumption by up to 40m cubic feet per day (cfd) to around 110m cfd.

The International Finance Corporation and the World Bank will finance 80% of the project, which has been valued at around $400m, and private shareholders will fund the remaining 20%. Work on the upgrade is expected to begin in the first half of 2018 and be completed by the end of 2019. The expansion at Ciprel, which is owned by the French Eranove Group, will add 350 MW of capacity to its CCGT plant in the Vridi industrial zone. The project is scheduled to become operational in three phases, with commissioning dates set for October 2019, February 2020 and June 2020.

Scottish company Aggreko has also made clear its intention to expand its capacity in the country. At a meeting with Amadou Gon Coulibaly, the Ivorian prime minister in May 2017, Christophe Jacquin, managing director for the West and North Africa Region at Aggreko, said it plans to upgrade its 200-MW Vridi facility and build a new thermal electricity plant, which the producer will finance from its own funds.

The three IPPs are collectively responsible for the majority of Côte d’Ivoire’s thermal energy production, using liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplied by majority-private players, including Afren, Foxtrot International and Canadian Natural Resources.

Preliminary work has also begun on a separate project – the 372-MW Songon CCGT plant – despite an ongoing legal dispute between initial project partners Starenergie 2073 and Endeavor Energy.

Keeping Up With Demand

The announcements from Ciprel and Azito mark the latest in a series of capacity expansions, as they seek to keep up with the rising energy demands of Abidjan. Both companies recently completed upgrades, with Ciprel finalising works totalling CFA225bn (€343m) in February 2016, and Azito completing its transition to CCGT in June 2015.

The Ciprel project added 235 MW to its capacity, reducing CO₂ emissions by around 500,000 tonnes per year, while the Azito expansion increased total capacity from 290 MW to 430 MW.

Maximising Lng Resources

Moves to improve efficiency at existing plants have in part been necessitated by the absence of new discoveries of natural gas in recent years. It was against the same background that the government greenlighted the construction of the country’s first LNG import terminal early in 2017. The terminal will import around 3m tonnes of gas annually and is expected to cost in the region of $140m.

Work on the LNG project, which is being developed by a consortium led by the French multinational Total, broke ground in the summer of 2017. The facility is located on a floating storage and regasification unit off Vridi. The first LNG is due to be imported from Total’s global portfolio in mid-2018.

Analysis by Africa Energy, an energy consultancy, suggests that if all developments unfold as planned, Côte d’Ivoire’s on-grid capacity will reach 4060 MW by 2020, exceeding the government’s target of 4 GW. The government said in 2016 that it aimed to double the country’s energy capacity by investing approximately $9bn under its National Development Plan 2016-20.