French oil and energy company TotalEnergies has begun production from the Ikike field in Nigeria, which is expected to deliver peak production of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by the end of 2022, it said on Monday.

The field production would supply the much-needed boost for Nigeria which has faced operational problems in its upstream oil and gas sector.

TotalEnergies-which operates the field with a 40 per cent stake alongside the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, Limited(NNPC) with 60 per cent said, it expects Ikike to deliver 50,000 b/d of oil equivalent (boe/d) by the end of the year. The field is tied back to the Amenam offshore facilities through a 14km pipeline.

“By tapping discoveries close to existing facilities, this project fits the company’s strategy of focusing on low-cost and low-emission oil projects,” said senior vice-president of TotalEnergies’ upstream operations in Africa, Henri-Max Ndong-Nzue.

The start of production from Ikike will help Nigeria lift its flagging crude output, which slumped to a 17 month low of 1.26 million barrels a day in June which is 510,000 b/d below its OPEC target for the month, according to Argus estimates.

Oil theft has disrupted flows to Nigerian terminals this year. Last month, a drop in shipments of the key Qua Iboe and Forcados streams exacerbated ongoing disruption to Bonny Light exports, which have been under force majeure since mid-March.

TotalEnergies said earlier this month that it expects the disruption in Nigeria, combined with port blockades in Libya, to drive a i100,00p barrels of oil equivalent a day cut n its second-quarter upstream production. The company produced 240,000 boe/d in Nigeria last year.

The European Commission’s deputy director general for its energy department this month said that the European Union was seeking additional gas supplies from Nigeria as the bloc prepares for potential Russian supply cuts.