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Lloyds List: Shell starts Deimos production

Martyn Wingrove, Lloyds List
Published: Aug 02, 2007

SHELL Exploration and Production has started production at its Deimos deepwater oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico, which will boost its US output levels.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major’s US subsidiary has tied back three subsea oil wells on Deimos to the nearby Mars tension leg platform to keep this floating system producing at plateau levels.

This is the first phase of developing Deimos, which Shell discovered in 2002, and which will have a peak production level of around 30,000 barrels a day. Shell and its partner in the project, British oil major BP, are considering options for the second phase of development at Deimos.

Over the next five years Shell could develop more parts of the Deimos field with new subsea wells tied back to the Mars TLP, or it could choose to invest in a new floating production system for the field.

‘The phased development approach for Deimos allows us to realise short-term production while gathering information in order to optimise our second phase plans,’ said Shell’s technical vice- president Russ Ford.

‘Deimos is a subsea tieback that utilises the design, construction and flow assurance knowledge and experience we have developed across the Gulf of Mexico.

‘Deimos leverages the existing investment and infrastructure we already have in the Mars basin, namely the Mars TLP and related export pipelines.’

The Deimos field lies in 3,000 ft of water in Mississippi Canyon blocks 762 and 806, just a few miles west of the Mars platform.

Shell has a 71.5% stake in the Mars area and BP has the remaining 28.5%.

Meanwhile, Chevron is making progress with the Blind Faith project in Mississippi Canyon blocks 695 and 696. The US major is pushing to have this $900m project on stream early next year, but another of its Gulf of Mexico projects, Tahiti, is delayed due to inferior mooring shackles.

Chevron is developing Blind Faith, which lies in 7,000 ft of water, with a new production semi-submersible.

‘On Blind Faith the hull has been delivered into the Gulf of Mexico and the project looks to be on track,’ said Chevron’s chief executive Dave O’Reilly.

‘On Tahiti, the hull is also in the Gulf, but we have ordered replacement shackles so Tahiti is delayed, we do not know for how long.’

Production from Blind Faith will initially be around 30,000 barrels of oil and 30m cu ft of gas a day. But the facility is designed to pump out 45,000 bpd oil and 40m cu ft of gas and can be upgraded to accommodate production from satellite fields.

Chevron’s $3.5bn Tahiti project involves a large truss spar, which has a daily production capacity of 125,000 barrels of oil and 70m cu ft of gas.

Tahiti, which is in Green Canyon blocks 640, 641 and 596, was due to come on stream by next summer but delays mean this could be pushed back into the fourth quarter of next year.

Chevron’s next generation of oil projects in the Gulf of Mexico are also slowing down as the Californian company faces pacing out the appraisal drilling programme.

Mr O’Reilly said appraisal drilling of the large Jack and St Malo deepwater oil discoveries had been delayed until next year.

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