Shell and Equinor have taken the final investment decision (FID) on their Sparta deepwater development in the US Gulf of Mexico with an aim to unlock an estimated, discovered recoverable resource volume of 244 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

Spread over four outer continental shelf (OCS) blocks in the Garden Banks area, Sparta will involve the installation of a semi-submersible production host in water depth of over 1,400m.

As per the development plan, eight production wells will be drilled and subsequently tied back to the floating production unit.

The Sparta platform will replicate the Shell-operated Vito and Whale projects. It will mirror nearly 95% of Whale’s hull and 85% of the topsides of the Whale project.

Sparta’s peak production is expected to be around 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d). The deepwater field is anticipated to commence production in 2028.

For Shell, Sparta marks its 15th deepwater host in the Gulf of Mexico. It will incorporate topside compression equipment powered entirely by electricity, which will lead to a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas intensity and emissions associated with Shell’s operations.

Shell integrated gas and upstream director Zoë Yujnovich said: “Shell’s latest deep-water development demonstrates the power of replication, driving greater value from our advantaged positions.

“This investment decision is aligned with our commitment to pursue the most energy-efficient and competitive projects while supplying safe, secure energy supplies today and for decades to come.”

Discovered in 2012, Sparta is located 275km off the coast of Louisiana.

Shell’s subsidiary Shell Offshore is the operator of the field with a 51% stake. The remaining 49% is held by Equinor’s subsidiary Equinor Gulf of Mexico.

Equinor exploration and production international executive vice president Philippe Mathieu said: “Sparta marks the third final investment decision in our international upstream business this year, underlining our commitment to invest in long-term reliable energy supply.

“The US is a core area for our international business, where we continue to create significant value with good carbon efficiency.”