Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said Wednesday it started production at an oil facility off the coast of Angola in record-setting fashion.
The company said operations started at its East Hub project in deep Angolan waters using an offshore floating production vessel capable of generating up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day. The facility can also process a significant volume of natural gas.
"We are beginning production of the East Hub with a time-to-market of only 3 years, and 5 months ahead of schedule," CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement.
Eni said the new production will add to legacy assets offshore Angola, where another production vessel is already in place. In total, the Italian company said its assets there could peak at 150,000 bpd this year.
Angola is one of the lesser producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, accounting for less than 1 percent of the total output from the group. Oil supports about 45 percent of the nation's economy and nearly all of its exports.
Angola, under the terms of a managed decline agreement from OPEC, committed to cut about 78,000 bpd from production starting in January. That would put the country's production level at about 1.67 million bpd based on the agreement. Angola reported total crude oil production to OPEC for December at 1.7 million bpd.
"Leveraging our extensive experience in exploration, we have been able to discover a total of 3 billion barrels of oil in place through 10 commercial discoveries," Descalzi said.
Economic growth for Angola is expected at 1.25 percent this year, compared with no growth last year.