Shell Digs Deep Setting World Record



Shell Oil is now producing oil from the world's deepest subsea well at its Perdido Development, utilizing advanced technology to lead the way in increasing the company's ability to produce more domestic oil and gas resources. The well, at 9,627 feet below the water's surface, is located in the Tobago Field 200 miles southwest of Houston in the ultra-deep water of the Gulf of Mexico. Tobago is jointly owned by Shell (32.5%, as operator), Chevron (57.5%), and Nexen (10.0%) and is one of three fields producing through the Perdido drilling and production platform.

Tobago breaks the world water depth record for subsea production, previously held by another field in the Perdido Development, the Silvertip field at 9,356 feet of water.

"Energy is fundamental to global economic growth. Providing this energy must be met practically, safely and in an environmentally responsible manner," said Marvin Odum, Upstream Americas Director. "Through our highly skilled workforce and cadre of global geoscientists, Shell has applied its advanced seismic and drilling technologies at Perdido to produce additional sources of oil and gas."

Moored in about 8,000 feet of water, the Perdido platform is jointly owned by Shell (33.34%), BP (33.33%) and Chevron (33.33%) and is the deepest drilling and production facility in the world with a capacity to handle 100,000 barrels of oil per day and 200 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. From Perdido, Shell accesses the Great White, Tobago, and Silvertip oil and gas fields through subsea wells directly below the facility and from wells up to seven miles away. At its peak, Perdido can produce enough energy to meet the needs of more than two million US households. Shell operates Perdido and its satellite fields on behalf of partners Chevron, Nexen, and BP.

This world-class project began with the 1996 lease sale when the technology to develop hydrocarbons at Perdido's water depth did not yet exist. By the time the final investment decision for commercial development was made in October 2006, Shell had pioneered several technological firsts which allowed the company to proceed with ultra deepwater oil and gas production. Development drilling began in July 2007, five years after the discovery of hydrocarbons. Perdido produced its first oil and gas on March 31, 2010.

Perdido Technical Facts and Firsts

  • Deepest water depth record for an offshore oil drilling and production platform.
  • First water injection in 8,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico (Great White GB001) helps push oil through the reservoir, from the injector wells to the production wells.
  • First commercial production from the Lower Tertiary geological formation, which many see as the next big opportunity in deep water.
  • Deployment of an innovative subsea separation and boosting system that compensates for the low-pressure reservoir and about 2,000 psi of backpressure from the wells. The system includes five specially designed 1,500-horsepower electric pumps embedded in the seafloor to boost production to the surface.
  • First spar with direct vertical access wells and production hardware on the seafloor at a depth of more than 8,000 feet.
  • Perdido weighs 50,000-tons and sits in water six times deeper than the height of the Empire State Building.
  • The entire Perdido project has achieved 13 million man-hours without a lost-time injury, testifying to the effectiveness of the safety regimes put in place by the construction and operating teams.


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