Australia-based independent oil and gas company Rialto Energy has received approval from the Ivory Coast Government for the field development plan of the Gazelle field in Abidjan.

The field is located in licence CI-202, offshore the Ivory Coast, West Africa.

Rialto said the approval will allow the fast track development of the field, with production start-up targeted for the fourth quarter of 2013.

Initial production from the Gazelle field is anticipated at 8,000bpd and up to 100 million cubic feet (mmcf) of gas per day.

The Gazelle field development plan will use a production platform in water depths of 40m, where oil and gas production will be processed and exported through bundled pipelines to the onshore infrastructure, which is located 30km north-west of CI-202.

The pipelines will have a daily capacity for up to 40,000bpd of oil and 230mmcf of gas to allow further infill drilling at Gazelle and the tieback of satellite fields.

Rialto will be formally granted an exclusive exploitation area of 58.5km2 at the Gazelle field for a period of 25 years.

Rialto also signed a memorandum of understanding for gas sales from the field, which outlines the commercial terms for the delivery of up to 100mmcf per day, based on a minimum seven year production profile.

The company will sign a final binding take or pay gas sales agreement prior to making a final investment decision on the field, which is anticipated mid-2012 following the completion of Rialto’s first and second quarter 2012 drilling programme.

Rialto has engaged the GSF Monitor jack-up rig to drill the field’s first two development wells from February 2012.

In addition, it will spud a third well to test the Chouette prospect, which is estimated to hold mean prospective resource of 80 million barrels.

Rialto, as the operator, holds an 85% working interest in CI-202.