Total approves $16bn Angolan project

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Total Reuters Logo of French oil giant Total on its headquarters in the financial district of la Defense near Paris March 8, 2010.

Paris - French oil company Total said on Monday it had decided to go ahead with its Kaombo oil project offshore Angola after lowering its cost by $4 billion to $16 billion.

The decision to invest in the deep sea project has been repeatedly delayed because of its cost. In recent years a number of other large-scale projects around the world have fallen victim to moves by big oil company to draw in their investment horns and return cash to shareholders.

The ultra-deep field will have a production capacity of 230,000 barrels per day, for a start-up date in 2017, Total said in a statement.

Total is already the top operator in Angola, with the 600,000 barrels it produces per day at its Girassol, Dalia and Pazflor deepwater fields in the huge Block 17 representing over a third of the country's output.

Angola is Africa's second largest oil producer and it wants to increase production to 2 million barrels per day next year from 1.73 mbpd in 2013.

The country's state-owned Sonangol P&P has a 30 percent stake in the Kaombo project, Sonangol Sinopec International has 20 percent, ExxonMobil's Esso unit holds 15 percent and Total owns the remaining 30 percent.

The oil field is located about 260 km (162 miles) off the capital Luanda, in water depths ranging from 1,400 to 1,900 metres (4,600-6,200 ft). - Reuters

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