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July 27, 2021

Shell approves oil field development in US Gulf of Mexico

The Whale deepwater field has estimated recoverable resources of 490 million barrels of oil equivalent.

By Archana Rani

Royal Dutch Shell has made a final investment decision for the Whale oil field development in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Located nearly 321km south-west of Houston, Texas, the deepwater field is expected to have a peak production capacity of nearly 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).

According to current estimates, the deepwater field has a recoverable resource volume of 490 million barrels of oil equivalent (Mboe).

Scheduled to start production in 2024, the Whale development is contained in Alaminos Canyon Block 773.

The Whale field will produce oil from 15 wells via a semi-submersible production unit installed in a water depth of more than 8,600ft.

Shell has an operating stake of 60% in the Whale oil field while its partner Chevron USA holds the remaining stake of 40%.

Shell upstream director Wael Sawan said: “Whale is the latest demonstration of our focus on simplification, replication and capital projects with shorter cycle times to drive greater value from our advantaged positions.

“We are building on more than 40 years of deepwater expertise to deliver competitive projects that yield high-margin barrels so that we are able to meet the energy demands of today while generating the cash required to help fund the development of the energy of the future.”

The Whale development marks the 12th deepwater host for Shell in the Gulf of Mexico. It also represents the company’s second operated deepwater development in the area.

Earlier this month, reports emerged that Shell is considering exiting Aera Energy, its oil and gas joint venture (JV) with ExxonMobil in the US.

The JV, which is based in the US state of California, has assets primarily in the San Joaquin Valley. It has a daily production of about 125,000 barrels of oil and 32 million cubic feet of natural gas.

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