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Shell and Equinor make final investment decision on Sparta deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

Equinor and its operating co-owner, Shell Offshore Inc., a subsidiary of Shell plc, reached the final investment decision for the Sparta development in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Owned by Shell Offshore Inc. (51% operator) and Equinor Gulf of Mexico LLC (49%), Sparta is expected to reach a peak production of approximately 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) and currently has an estimated, discovered recoverable resource volume of 244 million boe. Sparta will be Shell’s 15th deep-water host in the Gulf of Mexico and is currently scheduled to begin production in 2028.

(In June 2022, Shell acquired its 51% operated interest from Equinor in what was the called the North Platte deep-water development project. To reflect Shell’s entry to the project, Shell and Equinor agreed to rename the North Platte opportunity to Sparta. )

The Sparta development spans four Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) blocks in the Garden Banks area of the US Gulf of Mexico. Sparta will feature a semi-submersible production host in a depth of more than 4,700 feet (1,400 meters) of water, initially with eight oil and gas producing wells. Reservoir depth is approximately 30,000 feet (9,100 meters).

Sparta’s design closely replicates the 100,000 barrel per day Vito and Whale designs, both of which are four-column semi-submersible host facilities. (Sparta replicates about 95% of Whale’s hull and 85% of Whale’s topsides.)


Vito platform

Vito is located in the greater Mars Corridor and began production in February 2023. Whale will be located in the Perdido corridor and is scheduled to come online in 2024.

Building on more than 40 years of deep-water expertise, Sparta also marks Shell’s first development in the Gulf of Mexico to produce from reservoirs with pressures up to 20,000 pounds per square inch.

The Sparta development will be the first of Shell’s replicable projects to feature all-electric topside compression equipment, significantly reducing greenhouse gas intensity and emissions.



At 20,000 pounds per square inch deep sea drilling is very risky, no wonder deep water horizon had such a blowout with BP.

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