Cablegate: Russian Business Presence in Africa (C-Ci9-01825)

INFO LOG-00 EEB-00 AID-00 CIAE-00 COME-00 INL-00 DNI-00
DODE-00 DOTE-00 DS-00 EUR-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00
VCI-00 H-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 L-00 MOFM-00 MOF-00
VCIE-00 NSAE-00 ISN-00 NSCE-00 OMB-00 NIMA-00 EPAU-00
PA-00 PM-00 GIWI-00 PRS-00 P-00 ISNE-00 SP-00
TRSE-00 T-00 FMP-00 EPAE-00 IIP-00 SCRS-00 PMB-00
DSCC-00 DRL-00 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 FA-00 PESU-00

P 020648Z OCT 09


E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 88241

The following are responses to the questions posed in reftel:

(A) To our knowledge, there is no official Russian trade
representation in Cote d'Ivoire. The Russian Embassy has
refused our requests to meet with them directly.

(B) Lukoil Overseas is the major Russian company operating
in Cote d'Ivoire. Lukoil and Houston-based Vanco
International Ltd. are partners on two offshore Ivoirian
blocks: CI-101 and CI-401. Vanco originally held 90 percent
ownership of these two blocks, with Cote d'Ivoire's national
petroleum company, Petroci, holding the remaining 10 percent.
However, Lukoil purchased two-thirds of Vanco's 90 percent,
leaving Vanco with a 30-percent interest in each block.
Vanco is the operator on both blocks and intends to drill on
CI-401 in December 2009 and on CI-101 in 2010. Lukoil holds
another offshore block, CI-205, on which it is the operator.

(C) Post has no figures on revenue earned by Russian
companies in Cote d'Ivoire.

(D) Lukoil's investment in the oil sector is around $250
million. According to the Ivoirian investment authority,
Centre de Promotion des Investissements en Cote d,Ivoire
(CEPICI), there are currently no Russian investments in
other sectors. CEPICI told us that they had received
inquiries from potential Russian investors in the cocoa,
coffee and energy sectors, but no firm agreements had been
reached. In 2008, local press reported the visit of a
Russian delegation seeking business opportunities for
infrastructure projects in Yamoussoukro, the political
capital in the center of the country. No further
developments were reported.

E) We do not believe that Cote d'Ivoire is actively seeking
Russian tourism or investment.

F) Roughly 20 Russians work at their Embassy in Abidjan
(diplomats and staff). We met with two Russians employed by
Lukoil earlier in the year.


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