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Total confirms Nigeria Akpo oilfield startup

French oil major Total's Akpo deep offshore oilfield in Nigeria has started operations with production expected to reach 175,000 barrels per day this summer, the company said.

An official with Nigeria's state-run oil firm NNPC told Reuters on Thursday the oilfield, located 200 kilometers off the coast of the restive Niger Delta, had pumped first oil earlier in the week.

Nigeria, the world's eighth biggest oil exporter, is hoping its new offshore oilfields will help boost its production as funding shortfalls and insecurity in the Niger Delta keep a cap on output from onshore and shallow water ventures.

Africa's largest oil producer is pumping less than 2 million barrels per day out of an installed output capacity of about 3 million bpd.

Akpo's operator, Total, holds a 24% stake with Brazil's state-run oil firm Petrobras, NNPC, China's CNOOC and Nigeria's Sapetro also equity holders.

“Akpo is one of the leading projects with huge potential in Western Africa. It is also one of the largest deep water projects in the world ever undertaken,” said Fu Chengyu, CNOOC's chief executive officer.

Akpo, which drills at water depths ranging from 1,200 to 1,400 meters, will eventually add as much as 185,000 barrels of oil and 320 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to Nigeria's production, Total said.

The field's reserves are estimated at 620 million barrels of condensate and more than 1 tera cubic feet of gas. (Reuters)