PARIS, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- French energy company Total said it secured a stronger foothold offshore Africa with the start of deep-water operations in Congolese waters.
Total said Friday it started operations at the Moho Phase 1b project located in the deep waters off the coast of the Republic of the Congo.
"The start-up of this project, in line with the original schedule, constitutes a further success for Total's growth strategy in deep offshore, particularly in West Africa," Arnaud Breuillac, Total's head of exploration and production, said in a statement.
Total serves as the operator of the project. The project has a production capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
West Africa is drawing interest from energy companies willing to invest in frontier territory. Italian energy company Eni said it's discovered about 4 billion barrels of oil in basins off the Congolese and Gabonese coasts since it started work there more than four years ago.
Total's new work offshore Congo is tied into an existing production facilities moored offshore that's been producing since 2008.
The French energy company is the lead oil producer in the Republic of Congo, accounting for about 50 percent of the total national output.