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Shell adds 3rd major discovery to the Norphlet play in the Gulf of Mexico; total potential now above 700M barrels oil equivalent

Shell announced its third major discovery in the Norphlet play in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico with the successful Rydberg exploration well. After more than 10 years of exploration activities in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, Shell continues to lead industry in exploring this Jurassic play.

The Jurassic-period Norphlet play is characterized by high pressures and well temperatures, where good quality oil can be found in high quality sandstone reservoirs.

Norphlet play. Click to enlarge.

The Rydberg well is located 75 miles (120 kilometers) offshore in the Mississippi Canyon Block 525 in 7,479 feet (2,280 meters) of water. It was drilled to a total depth of 26,371 feet (8,038 meters) and encountered more than 400 feet (122 meters) of net oil pay.

Shell is completing the full evaluation of the well results but expects the resource base to be approximately 100 million barrels of oil equivalent. Together with the Appomattox and Vicksburg discoveries, this brings the total potential Norphlet discoveries to over 700 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

This is the first discovery for the partnership of Shell (operator, interest 57.2%); Ecopetrol America Inc. (28.5%); and Nexen (14.3%), a wholly-owned affiliate of CNOOC Limited. The discovery is within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of the planned Appomattox development and the 2013 Vicksburg discovery (Shell, operator, 75% and Nexen, 25%).

Shell and Nexen are following up the Rydberg discovery with an exploratory well at Gettysburg, located in Desoto Canyon Block 398 which is also within 10 miles (16 kilometres) of the planned Appomattox Development.

The Jurassic-period Norphlet play is a geological formation that extends from onshore to the deep waters of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Appomattox (Shell, operator, 80% and Nexen, 20%) is currently in the define phase of development and is moving forward with engineering design for the floating production system, subsea infrastructure and wells.

The drillship Noble Globetrotter I drilled the Rydberg well and is currently repositioning to drill the Gettysburg exploratory well.

The Gulf of Mexico is a major production area in the USA, accounting for almost 50% of Shell’s oil and gas production in the country and almost 180 thousand boe per day in 2013.


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