The Moho Nord oil exploration and production project offshore Angola is a large-scale deepwater development. It's the biggest project to date carried out in the Republic of the Congo. Moho Nord also exemplifies Total's determination to end routine flaring, a source of greenhouse gas emissions. It's a bona fide technological challenge that addresses environmental, industrial and societal concerns without compromising safety standards. Yves Duteil, a naval architect by training and Moho Nord project director, sketches the broad outlines.
Producing an oil field is bit like working on a giant bottle of soda. The product starts out under high pressure, but stabilizes after you open it. Plus, you must take steps to get it all out. The pressure is caused by gas in the oil and absolutely must be dealt with, for safety, environmental and technical reasons. Because that gas is around for as long as a field is in production, flares are installed at all oil sites. Their main purpose is to ensure safety by burning off the associated gas so that it doesn't build up in installations, which could create hazardous overpressure.