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Shell’s Bonga field starts up offshore Nigeria


28 Nov 2005, Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell) today announced the start of crude oil production from the Bonga deepwater oil and gas field, 120 kilometers offshore Nigeria. The target is to attain the current nameplate production of 225,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of gas per day as soon as possible.

Malcolm Brinded, Executive Director Shell Exploration and Production said: “Bonga begins a new chapter in Nigeria’s oil and gas production, and an important contribution to new material oil production for Shell. The project targets an increase of around ten per cent in Nigeria’s oil production and around a twenty-five per cent increase in Shell operated production in the country. Nigeria’s deepwater is a frontier growth opportunity for Shell and we have several recent discoveries offshore and a strong acreage position. Bonga is a highly valuable asset for Nigeria and for Shell, and the field is coming onstream to meet demand at a time when energy prices are high.”

The development cost to first oil for Bonga is some $3.6 billion dollars. The field was discovered and developed by Shell using its technology and deepwater experience, and marks a number of industry records.

Located in Oil Prospecting Licence 212, the 60 square kilometer field is situated in water depths of more than 1000 metres. Production facilities comprise one of the world’s largest Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels and deepwater subsea infrastructure. The field’s initial 16 subsea oil producing and water injection wells are connected to the two million barrel storage capacity FPSO by production flowlines, risers and control umbilicals. Notably, this is the first time inconel clad Steel Catenary Risers have been used on an FPSO anywhere in the world.

Shell Nigeria Exploration & Production Company Managing Director, Chima Ibeneche said: “We pioneered the advance into Nigeria’s deep-water frontier, leveraging Shell’s global expertise to discover and develop producible hydrocarbons. Bonga will deliver excellent value to the Government and people of Nigeria, co-venturers, and to the shareholders for many years to come. I would also like to stress that the first oil from deepwater offshore Nigeria would not have been possible without the highly qualified and dedicated staff who have been working on this complex and challenging project within Shell, partner companies, contractors and government.”

Production from the field is an important step in support of the Nigerian Federal Government’s aspiration to raise the country’s crude oil production to some four million barrels per day by 2010. Considerable progress has been made in developing Nigerian content, capacity building and technology transfer. Shell has also invested heavily in local training programmes, with Nigerians currently making up around seventy five per cent of Bonga’s core offshore staff, and the potential for that figure to increase to over eighty per cent.

Associated gas from Bonga will be piped via the Shell operated 268 km 32 inch Offshore Gas Gathering System to Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd for export to US and European markets. The oil, with an API of around 30, will also be exported from the FPSO to European and US markets.

Notes for Editors
Located in Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 212, the Bonga concession was awarded in 1993 during the first round of bidding for Nigeria’s deepwater frontier acreage. It is operated by SNEPCo (55%) on behalf of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under a Production Sharing Contract (PSC). SNEPCo has a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) with Esso (20%) NAE Nigerian Agip Exploration Ltd (12.5%) and Elf Petroleum Nigeria Limited (12.5%) in respect of OPL 212.

Bonga firsts:

1. The first large steel catenary riser (SCR) to be installed on an FPSO.
2. The first use of inconel cladding for a dynamic riser application.
3. The first installation of a large diameter steel tube umbilical with bonded composite material cover as gaslift risers, in dynamic catenary configuration, off a spread moored FPSO, and connected to the base of a steel catenary flowline riser.
4. The first, largest and most technologically advanced polyester moored deepwater buoy to be built in Nigeria
5. The first implementation of large size dynamic flexible pipe (2.3km long) for oil transfer to a single point mooring (SPM) offloading buoy.

The technological feats achieved with Bonga also include the fabrication and installation of the world’s largest deepwater Single Point Mooring Buoy at Nigerdock in Nigeria. With Bonga’s success, SNEPCo has further demonstrated that the Snake Island Logistics Base in Lagos has the capability to support future deepwater offshore business in Nigeria and the sub region. The facilities on Snake Island include a heliport with all the necessary maintenance and support facilities including a search and rescue facility - the first in the country in terms of deepwater operations support.

Samsung Heavy Industries constructed the 300,000 tonne FPSO hull in South Korea while AMEC built and integrated the 22,000 tonne oil processing topsides facilities. Stolt Offshore designed and built the gas export pipelines, the production flowlines, water injection lines and the risers that connect the sub sea facilities to the FPSO. SBM and Technip completed all the mooring and installation of the FPSO and SBM Loading Buoy together with the gas lift risers, well jumpers, control umbilicals, production manifolds, subsea trees etc. Vetco Gray supplied the sub-sea wellheads, manifolds and control systems.

Nigeria is the eighth largest oil producer in the world. Nigeria possesses the most proven oil reserves in Africa and is also the most prolific producer in the region.


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