Production Starts at World's Deepest Offshore Oil Project

By The Maritime Executive 2016-09-06 19:11:41

Shell has started production from the Stones development in the Gulf of Mexico, the world’s deepest offshore oil and gas project. 

Stones is expected to produce around 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) when fully ramped up at the end of 2017.

The host facility for the project is an FPSO, the thirteenth FPSO in Shell’s global deep-water portfolio. It produces through subsea infrastructure beneath 9,500 feet (2,900 meters) of water. 

Stones, which is 100 percent owned and operated by Shell, is the company’s second producing field from the Lower Tertiary geologic frontier in the Gulf of Mexico, following the start-up of Perdido in 2010.

The discovery, made in 2005, is located in the Gulf of Mexico 320 kilometers (200 miles) south-west of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Stones underscores Shell’s long-standing leadership in using FPSOs on deep-water assets around the world, and the project features a more cost-effective well design, which requires fewer materials and lowers installation costs. This is expected to deliver up to $1 billion reduction in well costs once all the producers are completed.

The FPSO is also specially designed to operate safely during storms. In the event of a severe storm or hurricane, it can disconnect and sail away from the field. Once the weather event has passed, the vessel would return and safely resume production.

Shell’s global deep water business is a growth priority for the company and currently produces 600,000 boe/d. Deep-water production is expected to increase to more than 900,000 boe/d by the early 2020s from already discovered, established reservoirs. 

Three other Shell-operated projects are currently under construction or undergoing pre-production commissioning: Coulomb Phase 2 and Appomattox in the Gulf of Mexico and Malikai in Malaysia.