Total seeks to boost Angola's Dalia oilfield

ON BOARD DALIA FPSO, Angola Thu May 31, 2007 1:45pm EDT

ON BOARD DALIA FPSO, Angola May 31 (Reuters) - Total (TOTF.PA) is studying ways to raise production at its 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) Dalia oilfield offshore Angola, which could deliver a 10 percent boost, an executive said on Thursday.

"We are drilling more wells to increase the life expectancy of the field and we are also looking at whether we can add to current production," Yves-Louis Darricarrere, head of the French oil firm's exploration and production activities, told Reuters.

He was speaking during a French press visit to a $4 billion Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) ship which has been producing oil from deepwater Dalia since December.

Production reached the planned plateau rate of 240,000 bpd in April.

The Dalia FPSO is located 200 km (124 miles) northwest of Luanda in Angola's oil-rich and ultra-deep offshore block 17, operated by Total with a 40 percent stake.

"We don't know yet by how much we could increase production but Girassol (Dalia's block 17 sister FPSO) showed it was possible to go as far as 10 percent more, which is quite substantial," Darricarrere said.

The Dalia ship, weighing 90,000 tonnes even when empty, houses 180 oil workers and is composed of a thick stack of interlaced yellow pipes perched on a black and red hull.

It has a storage capacity of 2 million barrels of oil and tankers come directly alongside to load crude for export every four days.

Its 100-metre gas flaring tower, used to burn off surplus gas and resembling an oversized Olympic torch, can be seen up to 30 km away.

The Dalia field features 15 rigs out of a total 71 expected to be drilled over the next five years, Darricarrere said.

Total said would soon start reinjecting gas into the Dalia reservoir, lessening the environmental impact.

OPEC member Angola is the second largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa and is heading for record exports of 1.65 million bpd in July, traders told Reuters earlier this month.

Besides Total, other partners in Angola's Block 17 are Esso Exploration Angola with 20 percent, BP with 16.67 percent, Statoil with 13.33 percent and Norsk Hydro with 10 percent.

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