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Reuters: Nigerian Bonga oilfield to start late Oct – Shell: “…Bonga… is over two years behind its original target start date and far above budget”: Mon Sep 26, 2005  


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The long-delayed Bonga oilfield in Nigeria is now expected to start production in late October, quickly reaching 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), energy major Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday.


Shell had previously said Bonga, which is over two years behind its original target start date and far above budget, would begin pumping in the fourth quarter.


"We should start production at the end of October ... We will rapidly build up to 100,000," Basil Omiyi, head of Shell's Nigerian operation, told reporters on the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress in Johannesburg.


"We would like to have two months of production this year."


Royal Dutch/Shell is leading the development of the deep water project, which has cost about $3.5 billion and is due to reach plateau production of 225,000 bpd next year.


Nigeria is looking to a string of deepwater developments to provide the bulk of its forecast growth in oil production from 2.5 to 4.0 million bpd by 2010, and Bonga is the country's first large scale deepwater project.


Bonga equity is held by the Nigerian subsidiaries of Shell, Total, ExxonMobil and Eni.


Bonga crude oil will resemble Shell's existing distillate-rich Forcados grade, but will be slightly inferior in quality, with slightly more sulphur and acid, trading sources said in June. 


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