Shell Offshore, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell, has made a large deep-water oil discovery in the Norphlet geologic play in the US Gulf of Mexico.


Image: The Deepwater Poseidon new build rig at sea. Photo: courtesy of Royal Dutch Shell.

The Dover discovery, which is said to be Shell’s sixth in the Norphlet, is located approximately 13 miles (nearly 30km) from the Appomattox oil field. It is considered an attractive potential tieback.

Drilled using the Deepwater Poseidon rig, the Dover well is located in Mississippi Canyon Block 612, located approximately 273km offshore southeast of New Orleans, and in water depth of 7,500 feet (2,280 meters)

Drilled to a total vertical drilling depth of 29,000ft measured, the well has encountered more than 800 net feet of pay, Shell said.

Royal Dutch Shell upstream director Andy Brown said: “Dover showcases our expertise in discovering new, commercial resources in a heartland helping deliver our deep water growth priority.

“By focusing on near-field exploration opportunities in the Norphlet, we are adding to our resource base in a prolific basin that will be anchored by the Appomattox development.”

The firm’s Appomattox host platform has now arrived on location in the US Gulf of Mexico. It is scheduled to commence production before the end of 2019.

Shell has 79% stake in the Appomattox host platform while China’s CNOOC wholly owned subsidiary Nexen Petroleum Offshore owns the remaining 21% interest.

The Appomattox development involves construction of the host platform and fabrication of subsea infrastructure.

As per estimates, peak production from the Appomattox host is expected to reach approximately 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) a day.

Shell said in a statement: “Shell’s major, deep-water hubs are well positioned for production expansion through near-field exploration and additional subsea tiebacks.”

By 2020, the company expects its exceed it global, deep-water production to 900,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, from already discovered, established areas.