Congo Republic expects oil output to rise to some 300,000b/d in 2018, up from current volumes of around 250,000b/d. This comes partly as a result of a new deep offshore field, the Moho Nord, due to come online in 2017, Reuters reported.

The operator of the field is France’s Total, which said Moho Nord will produce some 140,000b/d, which, when reached, would further add to Congo’s crude oil output. The country is already about to overtake Equatorial Guinea as the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, informed Oil Price.

Total holds a 53.5% stake in the project. Chevron owns 31.5% , with the remaining 15% held by Congo’s state oil company SNPC.

Congo’s Oil Minister, Jean-Marc Thystere-Tchicaya, said: “From mid-2017 we can already count on an increase in production and then reach a peak in 2018 with 300,000b/d. We hope that the cost of a barrel of crude will stabilize on the market and allow us a good budget.”

In a bid to stimulate further investment in the industry, Congo recently reduced royalties for oil and gas. Oil royalties were cut from 15%  to 12%, while gas royalties were slashed from 15% to 5%. According to a legal adviser to the Oil Ministry, the move was prompted by the fact that a lot of producing fields in the Congo Republic had reached maturity, but could still contain extractable hydrocarbons that needed more investments. Also, deepwater reserves need to be explored and exploited, which also requires a lot of money.