ABUJA, Nigeria, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Royal Dutch Shell said Wednesday it started oil production from the first well at its deepwater Bonga North West development off the coast of Nigeria.
"This is an excellent addition to our deep-water portfolio -- a key growth theme for Shell's world-wide upstream business," Andrew Brown, Shell's director of international exploration and production, said in a statement.
The entire Bonga prospect started oil and gas production in 2005 and was Nigeria's first development in deep waters. Shell said the new start-up represents a significant step forward for the project.
Oil from Bonga North West will be sent through a pipeline to a floating production, storage and offloading export facility near the Nigerian shore. At its peak, the facility is expected to process as much as 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Nigeria, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is the largest oil producer in Africa. In its latest monthly market report, OPEC said Nigerian oil production of 1.9 million barrels per day in June was 2.6 percent more than the previous month.
"[Bonga North West] is a new source of oil revenues and strengthens Nigeria's deep-water expertise, a key driver of economic development," Brown said.