The company expects the production from the Stones field to reach 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) by the end of 2017.

The host facility for the project is a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which produces through subsea infrastructure beneath 9,500 feet (2,900 meters) of water.

The vessel is Shell’s thirteenth FPSO in its global deep-water portfolio.

Royal Dutch Shell upstream director Andy Brown said: “Stones is the latest example of our leadership, capability, and knowledge which are key to profitably developing our global deep-water resources.

“Our growing expertise in using such technologies in innovative ways will help us unlock more deep-water resources around the world.”

After the start-up of Perdido in 2010, Stone is Shell's second producing field from the Lower Tertiary geologic frontier in the Gulf of Mexico.

The project features a cost-effective design, which needs fewer materials and lowers installation costs.

The design is expected to reduce well costs by up to $1bn once all the producers are completed.

Shell said: “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.”

Currently, Shell’s global deep water business produces 600,000 boed and it is expected to increase to over 900,000 boed by the early 2020s.