Posts Tagged ‘Whale’

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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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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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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