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Providing new oil supplies for consumers

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 7/24/2005, Location: Africa

While the issues of price and supply adequacy have been front and center with the public, the oil industry continues efforts to add to world supplies. One project in which ExxonMobil is involved illustrates the complexities and costs associated with meeting growing global energy needs.This month, oil production began from the Kizomba B project offshore Angola.The oil reservoirs underlying this and nearby related projects were discovered in the1990s.

The oil that is now expected to eventually be produced from this group of offshore African reservoirs exceeds two billion barrels, equivalent to about seven percent of U.S. proved oil reserves.In late 2002, after drilling to assess the oil resource, we and the other oil company partners, in consultation with the government of Angola, agreed to begin detailed engineering, design and construction for Kizomba B. Now, less than three years after project go-ahead, production is under way.

The total investment required for developing Kizomba B and the nearby recent projects that are currently producing oil is more than $7 billion. With Kizomba B total production from the Kizomba development will soon rise to more than 550,000 barrels a day. We expect the Kizomba resources to help meet the world’s thirst for oil for more than two decades.

The Kizomba B oil reservoirs lie more than 4,500 feet below the seabed, and the seabed lies under 3,300 feet of water.To drill some of the wells, the project partners built an advanced Tension Leg Platform (TLP) that floats on the surface and is tethered in place with steel pipes anchored to the seafloor.Additional wells are drilled from a separate drillship through special templates that sit on the ocean floor.As oil is produced,it is sent via pipelines along the seabed prior to being delivered to another special ship, the world's largest Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel, or FPSO.

The FPSO separates the crude oil from the natural gas that is produced with the crude,and then temporarily stores the oil. Every four days a crude oil tanker moors at a nearby buoy,and the FPSO offloads its stored crude oil to the tanker. The tanker then takes the oil to world markets to be refined into consumer products. The gas is reinjected underground to be conserved for future use in an Angolan liquefied natural gas project. All in all, quite complex and quite an achievement. And designed to meet the world's growing need for energy.

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