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Shell’s Olympus on Its Way to U.S. GoM Mars Field

Shell’s massive Olympus tension leg platform (TLP) set sail from Ingleside, Texas on 14th July, for a 425 mile trek to its final home on the Mars Field in the Gulf of Mexico.

For 10 days, tugboats will transport the over 120,000 ton platform to the location where work will begin to secure the platform in place. The Olympus TLP will be moored to the seafloor by tendons grouped at each of the structure’s corners and will float in approximately 3000 feet of water.

The Olympus TLP is Shell’s sixth and largest tension leg platform and will provide process infrastructure for two of Shell’s deep water discoveries, West Boreas and South Deimos. The project also includes pipelines that will be routed through West Delta 143C, the recently installed shallow water platform.

The Olympus TLP is expected to start production in 2014, producing at a rate of 100k boe.

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Gulf of Mexico: Shell Announces Successful Exploratory Well at Vicksburg Discovery

Shell announces a successful exploratory well at Vicksburg in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The well is located 75 miles (120 kilometers) offshore in the De Soto Canyon Block 393 in 7,446 feet (2,269 meters) of water. It was drilled to a total depth of 26,385 feet (8,042 meters) and encountered more than 500 feet (152 meters) of net oil pay.

In total, the Vicksburg “A” discovery is estimated to hold potentially recoverable resources of more than 100 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe). It adds to the more than 500 mmboe of potentially recoverable resources that have already been discovered and appraised at the nearby Appomattox discovery. Vicksburg “A” is a separate accumulation from both Appomattox and the 2007 Vicksburg “B” discovery.

“The results of the Vicksburg well strengthen our existing deepwater Gulf of Mexico exploration portfolio and should contribute to the nearby Appomattox discovery,” said Mark Shuster, Executive Vice President Shell Upstream Americas Exploration.

Shell (the operator with a 75% interest) and Nexen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, (25% interest), are following up the Vicksburg “A” well with a sidetrack well to test the Corinth prospect, a separate fault block from the Vicksburg discovery. Further exploration drilling targeting tie-backs to Appomattox will follow.

Press Release, July 03, 2013; Image: Shell

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Gulf of Mexico: Shell Invests in GoM Stones Project

Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell) today announces a final investment decision in the Stones ultra-deepwater project, a Gulf of Mexico oil and gas development expected to host the deepest production facility in the world.

This decision sets in motion the construction and fabrication of a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel and subsea infrastructure. The development will start with two subsea production wells tied back to the FPSO vessel, followed later by six additional production wells. This first phase of development is expected to have annual peak production of 50,000 boe/d from more than 250 million boe of recoverable resources. The Stones field has significant upside potential and is estimated to contain over 2 billion boe of oil in place.

“This important investment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to usher in the next generation of deepwater developments, which will deliver more production growth in the Americas,” said John Hollowell, Executive Vice President for Deepwater, Shell Upstream Americas. “We will continue our leadership in safe, innovative deepwater operations to help meet the growing demand for energy in the US.”

The Stones field is located in 9,500 feet (2,896 meters) of water, approximately 200 miles (320 kilometers) southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana, and was discovered in 2005. The project encompasses eight US Federal Outer Continental Shelf lease blocks in the Gulf of Mexico’s Lower Tertiary geologic trend. Shell has been one of the pioneers in the Lower Tertiary, establishing first production in the play from its Perdido Development.

An FPSO design was selected to safely develop and produce this ultra-deepwater discovery, while addressing the relative lack of infrastructure, seabed complexity, and unique reservoir properties. With an FPSO, tankers will transport oil from the Stones FPSO to US refineries, and gas will be transported by pipeline.

The launch of the Stones development is a key milestone as Shell continues to grow deepwater exploration and development in the Gulf of Mexico, having made significant progress recently on the Mars-B development project with the arrival of the Olympus tension leg platform. Shell is also in the concept selection phase for the Appomattox and Vito discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Shell holds 100% interest and will operate the Stones development.

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Shell Starts Drilling at Cebus Well, Offshore French Guiana

Shell has started drilling at Cebus prospect (GM-ES-4), the third well of the current four well exploration programme in the Guyane Maritime Permit (French Guiana), Northern Petroleum, which holds a stake in the permit, has announced.

The drilling operations are being conducted with the Stena Ice Max drillship.

Northern through holding 50 per cent of Northpet Investments Limited, owns a net 1.25 per cent interest in the offshore exploration licence ‘Guyane Maritime’. Northern is in partnership with Shell (Operator, holding 45 per cent), Total (25 per cent), Tullow Oil (27.5 per cent) and Wessex Exploration (also holding 1.25 per cent through owning the remaining 50 per cent interest in Northpet Investment Limited).

Keith Bush, Chief Operating Officer of Northern stated:

“This is a new, exciting opportunity for the joint venture to further establish the oil production potential in French Guiana. We look forward to the results of this well with great interest.”

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Northern Petroleum: More Drilling to Be Conducted Offshore French Guiana

Northern Petroleum Plc  announces the joint venture decision to extend current drilling operations on the Guyane Maritime permit in French Guiana.

The GM-ES-3 exploration well is the second well of a four well exploration drilling campaign that commenced in 2012 to follow up the oil discovery at GM-ES-1 in 2011.

The GM-ES-2 well had exploration objectives in the major Cingulata fan system within which the original oil discovery was made in two ages of formation. GM-ES-3 has been planned to deliver exploration information in the subsidiary Priodontes fan system to the north west of the Zaedyus oil discovery.

The GM-ES-3 well intersected a 50 metres gross section of oil stained sands in the lower part of the Bradypus fan which was not a target formation at this location although it is also within the main Cingulata fan system. A 325 metres gross interval of sandstones was encountered in the targeted Priodontes fan, but these were logged with no significant hydrocarbon shows.

It has been decided by the Shell, Total, Tullow Oil and Northpet Investments Limited joint venture that this well provides a suitable location to drill deeper in a plan to penetrate the full post Atlantic rift sequence. The duration of this additional drilling will depend upon results from the formations encountered.

“This information may prove crucial to a fuller understanding of the exploration potential of this very large licensed area. Although this extension may cause a small delay to the further wells in this exploration programme, the earlier the deeper formations are examined, the better the advantages to be gained from its use in the second part of the drilling programme and aid efforts towards discovering more oil,” said NorthernPetroleum in a press release.

The well is now targeted to reach a final depth of 6438 meters subject to operational factors.

Derek Musgrove, Managing Director of Northern stated: “Following the oil discoveries of GM-ES-1 in 2011, the task before us was to explore the licence to ascertain its wider potential. Whilst the sand package in the primary target proved not to have significant hydrocarbons at this location, the oil staining encountered in the Bradypus fan is encouraging of the broader active hydrocarbon systems and potential.

“Northern supports this fuller exploration approach to this well. It is likely to provide Partners with further geological data imperative to gaining further understanding of the complex geology in this area”

To read more on the Joint Venture’s operations in French Guiana click here.

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