(West Africa) - Shell's Nigerian unit has shipped the first crude oil from the Bonga deepwater oil and gas field offshore Nigeria.
The 60 sq km field is situated in water depths of more than 1,000 m.
In a statement, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Co. (SNEPCo.) says 200,000 bbl had been loaded on December 29, following production start-up on November 25.
The landmark shipment from Nigeria's first deepwater oil discovery involved the pressurized transfer of crude from theBonga FPSO vessel via a nearly two-and-a-half-km long dynamic flexible pipe, to the offshore loading buoy and onto the ocean going tanker.
Oil production at the Bonga facility is expected to ramp up to 200,000 b/d in 2006. Shell said a target of 225,000 b/d of oil and 150 MMcf/d of gas is "to be attained as soon as possible."
Located in oil prospecting license OPL) 212, the Bonga concession was awarded in 1993 during the first round of bidding for Nigeria's deepwater frontier acreage.
The development cost to first oil for Bonga is some $3.6 billion.
Production facilities comprise one of the world's largest
FPSO vessels and deepwater subsea infrastructure.
The field's initial 16 subsea oil producing and water injection wells are connected to the 2 MMbbl storage capacity FPSO by production flowlines, risers, and control umbilicals.
This is the first time inconel clad steel catenary risers have been used on an FPSO anywhere in the world.
Bonga is operated and 55%-owned by SNEPCo on behalf of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corp. under a production sharing agreement.
Partners in the joint operating agreement are Esso (20%), NAE Nigerian Agip Exploration Ltd. (12.5%), and Elf Petroleum Nigeria Ltd. (12.5%).