Total increases gas acreage portfolio in Nigeria

Total unit Elf Petroleum Nigeria will boost its onshore and offshore gas production in Nigeria after acquiring a 40% stake in Oil Mining Lease 136 from Nigeria's Conoil Producing.

Jul 26th, 2007

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, July 26 -- Total SA unit Elf Petroleum Nigeria will boost its onshore and offshore gas production in Nigeria after acquiring a 40% stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 136 from Nigeria's Conoil Producing Ltd.

Conoil will remain operator with a 60% interest, and Elf will become technical advisor for the acreage, which lies 60 km offshore in 80-300 m of water. The Nigerian authorities have approved the transaction.

The partners will jointly carry out exploration activities over the lease, which spans 1,295 sq km and will appraise and develop any discoveries.

Previously, 14 wells were drilled on OML 136, which has produced two large gas discoveries—Toju and Akarino. "Appraisal of Toju, possibly followed by Akarino, will determine the block's development potential," Total said.

Total said it had acquired the stake to widen its opportunities of upstream developments and direct these towards downstream projects, particularly LNG. In Nigeria, Total is a partner in NLNG (15%) and in the Brass LNG project (17%), as well as Obite and Afam power generation projects.

Major player
Total plans to be a major player in Nigerian LNG projects, as there are plans to launch a seventh liquefaction train at the NLNG complex that would increase its production capacity to 30 million tonnes/year from 17.7 million tonnes/year after 2010. Brass LNG is scheduled to produce 10 million tonnes/year from 2010.

The company is focusing on developing deep offshore assets in Nigeria to underpin its oil and gas production portfolio. Total is a partner in Bonga field (12.5%), with a current production of about 200,000 b/d. Akpo field is expected to come on stream in 2008 and plateau at 225,000 boe/d.

OMLs 99, 100, and 102, operated by Total in a joint venture with Nigeria National Petroleum Corp., also contribute to current offshore production in Nigeria, mainly from Amenam, Ofon, and Odudu-area fields.

Development of Usan field will enhance the group's deep offshore production in Nigeria "at the beginning of the next decade," Total said. The Egina discovery in OML 130 will be developed separately. Appraisal work currently is under way, Total added.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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