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Deep water

Shell pioneered deep-water exploration and production in 1978 at the Cognac field which lies at a depth of 300 metres in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, technological advances enable us to work in water up to ten times that depth. All our deep-water projects have stringent safety procedures and meet rigorous design, construction and maintenance standards.

We currently operate deep-water projects on five continents. In 2014, we started production at four new projects: Mars B (Shell interest 71.5%) and Cardamom (Shell interest 100%) in the Gulf of Mexico; Gumusut-Kakap (Shell interest 29%) in the South China Sea and Bonga North West (Shell interest 55%) off the Nigerian coast. (See box).

New deep-water projects in 2014

Shell started production on four new projects in 2014:

Bonga North West
Our Bonga North West subsea project off the coast of Nigeria began production through the existing Bonga floating production vessel. At peak production, is expected to contribute 40,000 boe a day.

Our Cardamom project is located in the Gulf of Mexico. The Cardamom field sits beneath a thick layer of salt in rock six kilometres below the surface and its expected peak production rate is around 50,000 boe a day.

Shell’s Gumusut-Kakap platform now exports oil to shore with a dedicated pipeline. It is Malaysia’s first deep-water platform and expected to contribute up to 25% of the country’s oil production.

Mars B
In the Gulf of Mexico our largest floating deep-water platform, Olympus, began production of oil from the Mars B project early in the year. Further development continues on two fields feeding into the platform in water around 1,000 metres deep.

Deep-water milestones
Deep-water milestones from 1978 until now (graph)