The Cardamom project is a deep water oil and gas field located in the US Gulf of Mexico. The field is 100% owned by Shell.

The field was discovered in 2010 and Shell took the final investment decision to develop the asset in June 2011.

Cardamom began production in September 2014.

Production from the development is piped through Shell’s Auger platform, a tension leg platform (TLP) in the Gulf of Mexico.

Cardamom is Auger’s seventh and largest subsea oil and gas development with a production design capacity of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).


The Cardamom field is located offshore in Garden Banks Block 427 in water more than 2,720ft (800m) deep. The site is around 225 miles (362km) southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana, and approximately 9,200ft east of the Auger TLP.

The reservoir is situated beneath the thick layers of salt in rock around 19,000ft (~6km) below the sea floor.


Shell geologists used advanced deep-water seismic technology to identify Cardamom’s reservoir, which remained undetected from conventional seismic surveys.

The discovery was confirmed by drilling a deep well from Shell's Auger platform that extended more than 4-miles below the seabed and more than 3-miles out from the platform.

According to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), the application of multiple azimuth seismic data and anisotropic imaging helped in the discovery of a deep hydrocarbon reservoir at Cardamom.

The multiple seismic azimuth data for anisotropic velocity model building and pre-stack depth imaging minimised lateral and vertical well positioning uncertainty, while drilling activities were conducted using Logging While Drilling (LWD) measurements and Vertical Seismic Profile (VSP) data was acquired to enhance surface seismic calibration.

Cardamom's exploration plan was one of the first deep-water plans that were approved by the US Department of Interior following the withdrawal of a moratorium on offshore drilling in 2011.

The exploration wells for the project were drilled for more than 6.4km below the seabed.

Project details

Cardamom consists of five wells designed to produce 50,000 boe/d safely. The field was developed as a subsea tie-back to Auger. Direct vertical access wells were drilled from the Auger tension leg platform (TLP).

The completed sub-sea system also features a dual 8-inch or 20cm flowline, and eight well umbilicals.

According to Shell, Cardamom was the first Gulf of Mexico deep-water project to retrofit a producing tension leg platform. The use of existing infrastructure also helped Shell to increase oil and gas production with less investment.

Auger tension leg platform

Shell decided to develop Auger in December 1989 and announced plans to install a tension leg platform (TLP) on Block 426.

The TLP was installed in a water depth of 2,860ft. It measures 3,280ft from sea floor to the top of the flare tower, and weighs 39,000 tonnes.

The first production at Auger was achieved in 1994. Shell’s Auger production hub was upgraded several times since then to process additional production from new discoveries.

The modifications included upgrading an existing process train, addition of sub-sea receiving equipment, mitigation of weight to boost handling, cooling, and production capacity of liquids in the host facility.


In 2012, Technip FMC was awarded a ‘lump sum’ contract to develop the sub-sea infrastructure for the Cardamom field.

The contract encompassed engineering, project management, fabrication, and installation of the East and West Loop 12.8km pipe-in-pipe flowlines along with associated pipeline end termination (PLETs) and steel catenary risers.

Under a contract awarded in 2010, FMC Technologies supplied subsea and topside systems for the project in the Gulf of Mexico.