The exploratory oil wells revealed large reserves of natural gas, some of which were associated with the oil fields. In 1987 estimates of the Espoir and Foxtrot gas reserves off the coast of Abidjan amounted to 3.5 billion cubic feet, or enough to produce 55 million cubic feet a day for twenty years. Apart from reducing the country's dependence on fuel oil, the government sought to use the gas to generate electricity--thus justifying its purchase of four large gas-powered turbines during the drought of 1983-84--and to produce fertilizer. In late 1987, the government and Phillips Petroleum were still trying to negotiate an acceptable price for the gas. Start-up costs for drilling two producer wells and constructing a sixty-kilometer gas pipeline to the thermal power station at Vridi were estimated at US$150 million in 1986.
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