Total Launches 2nd Deepwater Project in Nigeria

PORT HARCOURT Nigeria (AFP via Dow Jones Newswires), May 20, 2008

The French oil company Total S.A. (12027.FR) Monday launched its second Nigerian deepwater drilling project, scheduled to come on stream in 2012 and expected eventually to yield 180,000 barrels a day.

The head of Total Nigeria, Jacques Marraud des Grottes, signed the multi-billion dollar investment at an official ceremony.

The new Usan project follows Total's first Nigerian deepwater investment, the Akpo field.

The new field will be operated by Elf Petroleum Nigeria Limited, a Total subsidiary.

Prospecting in the area began in 1993.

Marraud des Grottes said the new field would be developed in partnership with the Nigerian oil giant Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Chevron Nigeria, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Offshore East.

"It is the second deep water project by Total in Nigeria, coming after Akpo, which is due to start producing early next year," he said at the ceremony attended by Nigerian Oil Minister Odein Ajumogobia and the governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

It is the first major contract between the multinationals and the new Nigerian government headed by President Umaru Yar'Adua, elected a year ago.

Underwater pipelines including flowlines and risers to bring up oil and gas and inject water are to be provided at a cost of $1.6 billion by Saipem, formerly Bouygues Offshore, which is now a subsidiary of Italy's ENI S.P.A. (E).

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