Posts Tagged ‘Vito’

With the announcement of first oil at Argos, 3 of the 5 next generation deepwater platforms (simpler, safer, and greener) are now producing oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico. The other 2 platforms are expected to begin production in 2024.

Prior to the installation of these platforms, the last deepwater platform addition was Shell’s Appomattox in 2018. That gap in deepwater platform installations was the longest since Bullwinkle was installed in 1988.

The 5 new structures will increase the deepwater platform count by 9% from 56 to 61, and in the next few years should account for approximately 1/4 of GoM oil production.

King’s QuayMurphy3725April 2022100,000
VitoShell4000Feb 2023100,000
Argosbp4500April 2023140,000
AnchorChevron50002024 (est.)80,000
WhaleShell86002024 (est.)100,000

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The encouraging start to 2023 GoM production is likely due, at least in part, to Shell’s Vito and Murphy’s King’s Quay ramping up production. Other deepwater startups should boost production later this year.

EIA data

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Shell Vito

Last year, BOE featured 5 deepwater platforms that were under construction: Shell’s Vito and Whale, Murphy’s King’s Quay, bp’s Argos, and Chevron’s Anchor. These floating production units are noteworthy for their lighter, smaller designs. King’s Quay was the first to produce, beginning last April. The spotlight is now on Vito which began producing today. Vito’s peak production should reach 100,000 boe. The other 3 platforms are expected to begin production this year or next.

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Ballymore will be produced with 3 seafloor wells (6540′ water depth) that are expected to transport 75,000 bopd via a three-mile subsea tieback to Chevron’s Blind Faith floating production unit. Per BOEM, the Ballymore field was discovered in December, 2017. First production is expected to be in 2025.

Pre-production inspection, Shell Vito

Shell’s Vito floating production unit was inspected last week by BSEE personnel. Vito is expected to begin production later this year or early next year and produce up to 100,000 bopd. Per BOEM data, the Vito field was discovered in 2010.

As these projects demonstrate, deepwater development takes time and is often dependent on related projects on other leases. This is why future production is dependent on regular, predictable lease sales.

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Why U.S. Oil Companies Aren’t Riding to Europe’s Rescue

This article is primarily about Texas shale oil production. Offshore production, particularly in deepwater areas, is much more capital intensive, requires longer lead times, is exclusively on government leases, and is highly regulated by multiple agencies. These factors weigh against quick responses to market conditions. A Bloomberg article about Shell’s Vito project provides a good offshore perspective.


Another important factor in the offshore sector is that the major oil and gas producers seem to be going through an identity crisis, torn between what they are and what they (aided by some loud and powerful voices) think they should be. The future of these companies is dependent on how they navigate through all of this. The need for oil and gas is clearly not going away (see EIA projection below). Who will provide the supply and where will it be produced?

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Shell Vit0
Chevron Anchor
BP’s Argos
Murphy’s King’s Quay

After a several year lag in deepwater Gulf of Mexico development, a new generation of projects is moving toward first production. Shell’s Vito and Whale, BP’s Argos, Chevron’s Anchor, and Murphy’s King’s Quay are similar in many ways including the following:

  • Floating production units
  • Lighter, smaller semisubmersible designs
  • Excellent structural integrity and storm performance characteristics
  • Lower project costs, shorter cycle times
  • 4000 to 8600′ water depth
  • Subsea wells, small surface footprint
  • High production rates anticipated: 100,000 – 150,000 BOE/D
  • Standardized equipment
  • Energy efficient gas turbines
  • Advanced remote monitoring, fewer onboard staff
  • Simpler = safer (assuming equivalent well and production safety system integrity)
  • Limited number of wells + high production rates/well + efficient power generation and processing equipment + restricted flaring + pipeline transportation = low GHG intensity production

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  1. Pictured above are BSEE inspectors from the famed Houma District conducting one of their (always) thorough pre-production inspections at Murphy’s King’s Quay semisubmersible production platform in the Gulf of Mexico. [Trivia question: Who was the first Houma District Supervisor?]
  2. King’s Quay is one of six deepwater platforms expected to begin production in the Gulf over the next several years. Others include Shell’s Vito and Whale, BP’s Argos, Chevron’s Anchor, and Beacon’s Shenadoah. All are semisubmersible platforms, the current design of choice for the deepwater Gulf. Production semis have become smaller and more efficient, greatly improving the economics of deepwater projects.
  3. These platforms feature efficient gas turbines and compression systems that should increase the GHG intensity advantage of deepwater Gulf production.
  4. These are the first deepwater production structures to be installed in the Gulf since Shell’s Appomattox in 2018. Per our previous post on this topic, current GoM production rates are not sustainable without regular, predictable lease sales and increased exploration.
King’s Quay under tow

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