While some naysayers question the continuing development of deepwater reserves in the face of dramatically increased shale oil production, interest in deepwater is not waning.
Royal Dutch Shell announced Tuesday that it will begin production at its newest Gulf of Mexico oil and gas platform. Shell’s Olympus platform, installed last summer, is the first of seven new, state-of-the-art platforms slated to start pumping Gulf crude to shore through 2016. The Olympus production start will be followed by the production startup of up to 50,000 bpd from its Cardamom field — which will be hooked up to Shell’s Auger platform — later this year. Shell also plans to start pumping from its Stones field in the Gulf in 2016, using the basin’s second floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel rather than a moored platform like Olympus.
Olympus sits about a mile from its Mars platform, around 130 miles south of New Orleans, and is the company’s seventh operated platform in the Gulf. Shell said Olympus would help push the Mars oilfield’s production to 100,000 bpd by 2016. In 2013, the field produced an average of 60,000 bpd, the company said.
Other major Gulf producers with projects that have a cumulative production of more than 700,000 bpd that are slated to start in the next two years include Chevron, Anadarko Petroleum and Hess. The multibillion dollar development portfolio in the deepwater GOM is extremely healthy and it will likely stay that way for the next couple of years.