NEW YORK - Chevron Corp has started pumping crude oil from the Tombua-Landana project offshore Angola, with plans to raise output to 100,000 barrels per day by 2011, the company said on Wednesday.
The Chevron-operated, $3.8 billion development is located in 1,200 feet (366 meters) of water 50 miles (80 kilometers) offshore Angola in the Block 14 area, the company said in a release.
Tombua-Landana began pumping oil on Aug. 19, a month ahead of schedule, and is Chevron's largest project to begin producing oil in 2009, the company said. A Chevron spokesman declined to say what current production is as the ramping-up process takes time.
Chevron holds a 31 percent interest in Block 14, while Angola's state-run Sonangol has 20 percent, Italy's Eni holds 20 percent, France's Total has 20 percent and Portugal's Galp has 9 percent.
Chevron said it already produces 168,000 barrels of hydrocarbon liquids per day in other Block 14 fields. The company in July began production at another field, known as Mamufeira Norte, in Angola's Block 0 area.
Tombua-Landana, with an estimated 350 million barrels of recoverable reserves, is Chevron's third deepwater project in the West African country, and one of a dozen projects it has underway there overall, Chevron said.
Angola's growing offshore oil sector is attracting billions in investment from oil majors in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The country currently holds the presidency of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and may already top Nigeria as Africa's largest crude producer.
According to analysts polled by Reuters, Angola likely pumped around 1.78 million barrels a day in August, edging out Nigeria's production of 1.75 million bpd, which has been crimped by militant attacks in the Niger Delta region.
Total said gas from the Block 14 project will be supplied to the Angola Liquefied Natural Gas project being built nearby, which is slated to start up in 2012. Total owns a 13.6 percent stake in the LNG project, in which Chevron also holds a stake, the companies said in a release. (Reporting by Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)