Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) has started production in the third phase of its Bonga project in offshore Nigeria.

Shell upstream international director Andrew Brown said: "This new start-up is another important milestone for Bonga, adding valuable new production to this major facility."

The latest phase is an expansion of the Bonga Main development and at its peak, production is expected to be around 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent.

Existing pipelines would be used to transport oil to the Bonga floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) facility.

According to Shell, the facility can produce over 200,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of gas a day.

Production of oil and gas at the Bonga field, Nigeria’s first deepwater development in depths of more than 1,000m, began in 2005.

"The field has produced more than 600 million barrels of oil."

Located around 120km off the coast of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea, the field has produced more than 600 million barrels of oil.

SNEPCo is operating the Bonga project under a production sharing contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, which holds the lease for OML 118, where the Bonga field is located.

At present, the field consists of 16 oil producing and water injection wells, which is set to increase to nearly 40 wells upon further development.

The company holds a 55% contractor interest in OML 118, while the other partners are Esso Exploration & Production Nigeria (20%), Total E&P Nigeria (12.5%) and Nigerian Agip Exploration (12.5%).

Image: The Bonga FPSO being fitted out at the AMEC yard in Howdon. Photo: courtesy of Vin Mullen.