Shell reports that appraisals have shown the Bonga Southwest field in Nigeria could have reserves of up to one billion barrels. Reserve calculations completed on an appraisal well, which was drilled earlier this year, shows an estimated one billion barrels. Plans are underway to drill a second appraisal well in the third quarter for further results. Shell holds a fifty five percent stake in the deepwater field. A firm date has not been set for the development of the field but plans are well advanced for the neighboring Bonga field, which is also located in Block OML 118, to begin production. Bonga, Nigeria's first offshore deepwater development, is expected to start production in 2004. The $2.7 billion development will produce 200,000 barrels per day with recoverable reserves of about 560 million barrels.
The Russian Defence Ministry harbours plans to build a deep-water submersible vehicle to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench