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Oil major opens new offshore field off Nigeria

Associated Press Published: February 24, 2012

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — French oil firm Total SA says it has opened an offshore field with a production capacity of 180,000 barrels a day off the coast of oil-rich Nigeria.

Total said in a statement Friday that it has started production at its new deep-water Usan field about 62 miles (100 kilometers) from the West African nation's southeastern coast.

It said Usan is the company's second-largest offshore field in Nigeria, with a crude storage capacity of 2 million barrels.

Foreign firms have pumped oil for more than 50 years out of Nigeria's southern delta, a region of swamps, mangroves and creeks roughly the size of South Carolina. However, relations with the communities on land are strained, growing interest for offshore developments.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and a top exporter of crude to the U.S.