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Total Starts Development of Moho Nord in Republic of Congo

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s third-biggest oil company, will start development of the $10 billion offshore Moho Nord project in the Republic of Congo as part of a push to raise production.

First oil is expected in 2015 and output will reach 140,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2017, the Paris-based company said today in a statement. Total operates the license with a 53.5 percent stake while Chevron Corp. holds 31.5 percent and Societe Nationale des Petroles du Congo has 15 percent.

“The launch enhances visibility on Total’s production growth target,” Yves-Louis Darricarrere, head of upstream at Total, said in the statement.

Total is seeking to raise output as much as 3 percent this year by developing new fields and exploring more aggressively for new reserves. Output fell 2 percent last year in part because of a shutdown at the Elgin platform in the North Sea due to a natural gas leak. The company is planning to start production at five fields this year including Sulige, Angola LNG and Kashagan.

Total is the Repubic of Congo’s biggest producer, operating 10 of the 22 fields that have been developed, accounting for 60 percent of national output, according to today’s statement.

The Moho Nord development is located about 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Pointe-Noire in waters between 450 and 1,200 meters deep.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tara Patel in Paris at tpatel2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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