• Bonga phase 3 oil passes through floating production facility
  • Shell has 55% of Bonga, Exxon 20%, Total, Agip 12.5% each

Royal Dutch Shell Plc expanded oil production off Nigeria’s coast by starting the third phase of its Bonga field. 

That phase has a peak production capacity of about 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent, Shell said Monday in an e-mailed statement. The floating production and storage facility serving Bonga’s third phase has a capacity of more than 200,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of natural gas a day.

Shell has a 55 percent stake in Bonga and operates what it says were the first deposits to be developed in Nigeria’s deep waters in 2005. Exxon Mobil Corp. holds 20 percent, while units of Total SA and Agip, a subsidiary of Italy’s Eni SpA, each own 12.5 percent.

Shell has pushed on with projects close to production, such as Bonga phase 3, even as a slump in crude prices forced it to join other producers in deferring more risky exploration. Europe’s biggest oil company is cutting 6,500 jobs this year and plans to lower spending by $7 billion. It abandoned an exploration program in Alaska last month after drilling a well that didn’t lead to sizeable oil and gas reserves. 

In July, Shell decided to go ahead with the Appomattox project in the Gulf of Mexico after cost cuts reduced the break-even price for the project to $55 a barrel. Benchmark Brent crude climbed as much as 1.7 percent to $48.95 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange on Monday, after dropping 47 percent in the past year.

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