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Shell’s Cardamom development starts production; second major 2014 start-up in deep-water Gulf of Mexico

Production is now underway from the Cardamom development, the second major deep-water facility Shell has brought online in the US Gulf of Mexico this year, following the start-up of Mars B in February. Oil from the Cardamom subsea development (100% Shell) is piped through Shell’s Auger platform. When at full production of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boe/d), Auger’s total production capacity will increase to 130,000 boe/d.

Cardamom is a high-value addition to Shell’s production at the Auger platform, said Marvin Odum, Shell Upstream Americas Director. Auger was Shell’s first deep-water tension-leg platform. The addition of Cardamom extends Auger’s production life, and involved advanced exploration and development technology.

Our additional opportunities in deep water mean that this will remain an important, high-return growth area for Shell.

—Marvin Odum

Since its first production in 1994, the facility has received several upgrades to process additional production from new discoveries. Cardamom is Auger’s seventh subsea development.

The Cardamom reservoir sits beneath thick layers of salt in rock more than four miles (6.4 kilometers) below the sea floor and went undetected by conventional seismic surveys. Shell used the latest advancements in seismic technology to discover Cardamom in 2010.

The Cardamom field is 225 miles (362 kilometres) south-west of New Orleans,

Louisiana, in water more than 2,700 feet (820 meters) deep.

Other deep-water Gulf of Mexico growth for Shell includes the Mars B (Shell 71.5%) development, which continues to ramp up production; the ultra-deep-water Stones (Shell 100%, 50,000 boe/d) project, which is under construction; front-end engineering and design is progressing for the Appomattox (Shell 80%) project; and, in a recent exploration success, Shell announced a major discovery at its Rydberg (Shell 57.2%) well in the Norphlet play. Shell also discovered oil at its Kaikias (Shell 100%) well in the Mars basin, which will require further appraisal in 2015.

Last month, Shell also started oil production from its Bonga North West (Shell 55%, 40,000 boe/d) deep water development off the coast of Nigeria and recently announced a natural gas discovery at its Marjoram-1 (Shell 85%) deep-water well in Malaysia, where the Gumusut-Kakap (Shell 33%) deep-water platform is also on track for production this year.

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