Shell has started production from the world’s deepest offshore oil and gas project, the Stones development in the Gulf of Mexico

Shell has started production from the Stones development in the Gulf of Mexico, the world’s deepest offshore oil and gas project.

When fully ramped up at the end of 2017, the development is expected to produce approximately 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), the company informed in a statement.

“Stones is the latest example of our leadership, capability and knowledge, which are key to profitably developing our global deep water resources. Our growing expertise in using such technologies in innovative ways will help us unlock more deep water resources around the world,” Royal Dutch Shell Upstream Director, Andy Brown, said.

The project, fully owned and operated by the supermajor, is Shell’s second producing field from the lower tertiary geologic frontier in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the company, it features a more cost-effective well design, requiring less material and lower installation costs, which is expected to offer a US$1 billion (£749.38 million) reduction in well costs.

The host facility for the Stones project is a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, the thirteenth in Shell’s global deep water portfolio, producing through subsea infrastructure beneath 9,500 feet.

The FPSO has been designed to operate safely during storms as it is able to disconnect and sail away from the field and return to safely resume production once the storm has passed.

Additionally, the Stones development uses an innovative lazy wave riser configuration, made up of a steel catenary riser with buoyancy added with an arch bend to decouple the vessel’s dynamic motions and subsequently increase riser performance.

As well as this, an ultra-deep water mooring system keeps the FPSO’s location over the Stones field.

The development of the field will start with two subsea production wells tied back to the FPSO, followed by six production wells.

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