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Nigeria's Gbaran Ubie Gas Project "60 Pct" Complete

Source: Reuters 4/1/2009, Location: Africa

Nigeria's Gbaran Ubie oil and gas facility, being developed by Royal Dutch Shell and state oil firm NNPC, should be ready for commissioning this year, its project manager said.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), the Anglo-Dutch giant's Nigerian unit, hopes Gbaran Ubie will produce one billion cubic feet of gas a day and more than 70,000 barrels of oil (bpd) once completed in 2010 or 2011.

"(The project) is 60 percent completed and ready for commissioning before the end of this year, but there will be no substantial production yet," project manager Graham Henley told reporters in the southern oil hub of Port Harcourt.

NNPC signed a $1.69 billion funding agreement with Shell in February to cover its share of investment in the project. SPDC began work on the project in 2005.

Shell says the fields in the 650 square km area in the southern state of Bayelsa were first discovered in the 1970s but were not fully developed because they contained mainly gas, for which there was little demand in Nigeria.

But demand has risen sharply since then both within Africa's most populous nation, struggling to meet its domestic power needs, and for export as liquefied natural gas (LNG), seen as an attractive alternative energy source by consumer nations.

Shell says the Gbaran Ubie project will drill more than 30 new wells and build a central processing facility to treat both oil and gas. It hopes the site will help Nigeria meet targets to reduce gas flaring, provide more energy to local consumers and increase LNG exports.

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