Shell's Bonga Field to Start Up Late October

Shell's Bonga oilfield in Nigeria is now expected come onstream in late October, with an initial production rate of 100,000 barrels per day (bpd). Shell had previously said Bonga, which is over two years behind its original target start date and far above budget, would begin output in the fourth quarter. The company hopes to have two months of production this year.

"We should start production at the end of October ... We will rapidly build up to 100,000," Basil Omiyi, head of Shell's Nigerian operation, told reporters on the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress in Johannesburg.

Field development costs are approximately $3.5 billion. This is the country's first large scale deepwater project. Production is expected to plateau production of 225,000 bpd in 2006.

Partners in Bonga are Shell, Total, ExxonMobil and Eni.