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OIL AND GAS
Total starts production in deep Congolese waters
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Mar 15, 2017


French supermajor Total said it started production at a deep-water prospect off the Congolese coast with a production capacity of 100,000 barrels per day.

"Moho Nord is the biggest oil development to date in the Republic of the Congo," Arnaud Breuillac, president for Total's exploration and production division, said in a statement. "A showcase for Total's deep offshore operational excellence, it consolidates our leading position in Africa."

Production from Moho Nord comes through 34 wells tied to a platform that Total considers unique to its operations offshore Africa. The deep-water prospect has a peak production capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

West Africa has drawn interest from international energy companies eager to tap into unexploited reserves. Tullow Oil, one of the largest players in the region, said its working interest of total oil production should be in the range of 73,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent, driven in large part by projects near the coast of Ghana.

Congolese developments have come in fits and starts. Central African oil player SOCO International said last year it came up empty-handed while drilling in the waters off the coast of the Republic of Congo. It was targeting a basin with prospective reserves of around 350 million barrels of oil, but encountered no hydrocarbons in its early drilling efforts.

Economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said West Africa is one of the drivers of production growth for 2017. Regional production is expected to increased this year by 50,000 barrels per day, mainly from Congo and Ghana, to 2.16 million barrels per day.

Total is the lead oil producer in Congo with an equity share in production of 89,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day last year.

OIL AND GAS
Russia reacts to steep drop in oil prices
Washington (UPI) Mar 14, 2017
The dramatic drop in crude oil prices is in large part because of "aggressive" output in the United States, but OPEC still factors in, a Russian minister said. Crude oil prices declined 5 percent Wednesday after a federal U.S. report revealed dramatic gains in crude oil storage and production levels. The U.S. shale oil boom that evolved over the last decade put negative pressure on crud ... read more

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