Shell announced the startup of its deepwater Gulf of Mexico Perdido development Wednesday, 31 March, marking the first commercial production from the Gulf's Lower Tertiary reservoir using the world's deepest offshore drilling and production facility. The development includes a spar host moored in 8000ft water depths producing from the Great White, Silvertip and Tobago fields. Shell operates the production facility with 35% interest, along with partners Chevron, with 37.5%, and BP, which holds 27.5%. Shell and partners have drilled six wells at the site - five producers and one injector - with plans to install up to 35 wells over the life of the fields. First production was from a well at the Great White field, which is expected to provide more than 80% of total production when the entire project goes online. At its peak, Perdido is expected to produce 100,000boe/d.
Shell Oil president Marvin Odum, in a call with reporters, called Perdido 'a magnificent project' and suggested that the spar will one day serve as a hub for other fields in the Alaminos Canyon area. 'This is a host facility,' he said. 'Other production systems could be tied in to Perdido.' Shell discovered the Great White field in 2002 and Silvertip and Tobago two years later. Tobago, in 9600ft of water, is the deepest of the three and will set a record for the world's deepest subsea completion. Construction of the host spar began late 2006 and topsides were installed early last year. The announcement coincided with the Obama administration's decision to open areas of the US Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas exploration, including parts of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, where Shell is a major leaseholder. Odum called the administration's move 'a significant and important step forward.
Noting that Shell has enjoyed 'a string of exploration successes' in the Gulf of Mexico, including the recently announced find at the Appomattox field, Odum said the company would likely participate in lease sales in the previously off-limits deepwater Eastern Gulf. The Perdido spar is about 200 miles off the Texas coast in Alaminos Canyon block 857.