Shell’s Appomattox begins production

Production has begun several months early at the Appomattox platform, about 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The start-up comes several months early and 40% under budget.

In making the announcement last week, Royal Dutch Shell noted the Appomattox is the first commercial discovery now brought into production in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico Norphlet formation—a Jurassic aeolian system—and has an expected peak production of 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The project has realized cost reductions of more than 40% since a final investment decision in 2015 through optimized development planning and enhanced designs and fabrication.

“That Appomattox was safely brought online ahead of schedule and far under budget is a testament to our ongoing commitment to drive down costs through efficiency improvements during execution,” Andy Brown, upstream director for Royal Dutch Shell, said in a news release. “Appomattox creates a core long-term hub for Shell in the Norphlet through which we can tie back several already discovered fields as well as future discoveries.”

Shell has made six discoveries in the Norphlet formation since 2003. The latest was at its Dover well on Mississippi Canyon Block 612, where it encountered more than 800 feet of net pay. That field, lying about 170 miles southeast of New Orleans in 7,500 feet of water, and 13 miles from the Appomattox, is the source of first production at the platform.

The company owns a 79% stake in Appomattox; CNOOC, a subsidiary of the China National Offshore Oil Corp., owns the rest.

“We are very pleased with the commencement of production ahead of schedule as well as the cost reduction that were achieved through optimization and innovation at Appomattox,” Yuan Guangyu, CEO of the government-owned Chinese company, said in a news release. “Appomattox will become a new growth driver to our overseas production.”

Read the full announcement.