Total set to ramp up Nigerian oil output with new ship

Lagos - A gigantic oil tanker arrived in Nigeria as part of a multi-billion dollar project that should allow one of Africa's biggest crude producers to pump out an additional 200 000 barrels a day.

The floating production storage and offloading vessel is docked in Lagos after spending three months at sea, project partner LADOL Free Zone said in a statement on Thursday.

The vessel is part of a $16bn oil project developed by French giant Total on the Egina field, about 150km offshore from the oil hub of Port Harcourt in southeastern Nigeria, a company source told AFP.

The ultra-deep field was discovered in 2003 by Total and its Chinese and Brazilian partners, Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) and Petrobas Sapetro.

By 2018 the field is expected to produce nearly 200 000 barrels per day, or 10% of Nigeria's oil production.

The new ship, which is 330 meters long and weighs nearly 220 000 tonnes, left from Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) in South Korea at the end of October.

Remaining modules on the ship will be assembled in the coming months in Lagos before the ship is sent to Egina field, where it will process and store oil extracted from the ocean.

"This is a gigantic project that will do good in Nigeria, where production has peaked at about two million barrels per day," said Benjamin Auge, associate researcher at the French Institute of International Relations.

The Egina project is currently the largest developed for deep offshore use in the country, according to the energy specialist.

Along with Shell, Total is the main oil producer in Nigeria, where crude accounts for 70% of government revenue.

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