Royal Dutch Shell has, through its subsidiary Shell Offshore, started production at the Appomattox floating production system in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Appomattox floating system is located approximately 129km south-east of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico Norphlet formation, in water depths of approximately 2,255m.

It is a joint venture between Shell, who operates the field with a 79% operating interest, and CNOOC subsidiary CNOOC Petroleum Offshore USA (21%).

Appomattox was first discovered in 2010 as the first in a series of commercial discoveries made by Shell in the Norphlet formation. It is the first commercial discovery now brought into production in the Norphlet.

The project was expected to start production in 2020, but developments on the Appomattox floating system were completed months ahead of schedule.

In a statement, Shell said: “Appomattox is a story of efficiency through innovation. By way of optimised development planning, better designs and fabrication, and expert drilling execution, Appomattox has realised cost reductions of more than 40% since taking final investment decision in 2015.

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“The start of production at Appomattox is only just the beginning of further maximising the flow of resources in the prolific Norphlet surrounding Appomattox.”

The field has an expected production of 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), and is predicted to increase Shell’s production by approximately 60%. Oil produced from the platform will be transported onshore by the 145km Mattox pipeline, which has a capacity of 300,000 barrels per day.

Shell upstream director Andy Brown said: “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.

“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.”