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Shell celebrates 40 years of deep-water innovation

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Shell Offshore Inc. (Shell), a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc, today marks 40 years since it pioneered the modern deep-water era, celebrating a legacy of innovation that continues as part of the company’s growth strategy.

Shell currently has deep-water projects and exploration opportunities in the U.S., Brazil, Nigeria, Malaysia, Mexico, Mauritania, and in the Western Black Sea. That global presence began with a 1970s prospect, 105 miles southeast of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico.

“This is a special anniversary that we proudly celebrate with those who helped us drive that pioneering spirit – from the expertise of our employees and service providers to the support of the communities along the Gulf Coast,” said Rick Tallant, Vice President, Production, Deep Water Gulf of Mexico. “It’s an honor to be part of that legacy. What happened at Cognac in 1978 set Shell up for success in deep-water in the decades to follow.”

In 1978, Shell brought the Cognac oil and gas field into production in 1,025 feet of water. Cognac was deeper than any previous offshore discovery and marked the first time that an energy company pushed the frontiers of deep water beyond the 1,000-foot water depth. To develop this field, the company designed and built the world’s tallest and heaviest drilling and production platform.

When Shell acquired Cognac in a lease sale, the prospect was far beyond the depths common for the industry at that time. A vessel to drill in more than 1,000 feet of water did not yet exist. Shell translated teamwork and innovation into history-making accomplishments. After Cognac, the American Society of Civil Engineers presented Shell with the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement, the first ever awarded to an energy company. By 1982, Cognac was producing 72,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day.

Shell continued to lead the deep-water industry with more record-breaking, pioneering efforts. From Auger, the world’s first tension leg platform, to Stones, the world’s deepest offshore oil and gas project, Shell’s team in the Gulf of Mexico has consistently found ways to make the seemingly impossible, become possible.

“This remains a heartland for US energy production,” noted Tallant. “Our operations here in the Gulf of Mexico account for more than 50% of Shell’s oil and gas production in this country.”

Across four decades and around the world, deep water has become the growth priority for Shell’s Upstream business with production on track to reach more than 900,000 boe/d by 2020 from already discovered, established reservoirs. Shell designs and operates its deep-water projects to be competitive and, since 2014, has reduced its unit development costs (UDC) and unit operating costs (UOC) by about 45%.

Editor’s Notes:

  • Some of Shell’s history of record-breaking achievements in the Gulf of Mexico include:
    • Auger is the world’s first tension leg platform (TLP) that had both a permanent drilling rig and full-fledged production facilities. It was installed in the Gulf of Mexico in 1994 at a then world water depth record of 2,860 feet.
    • Perdido is the world’s deepest spar, with a production start-up in 2010. It is moored in around 8,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico.
    • The Mensa field, located 140 miles southeast of New Orleans, broke the record for the world’s longest subsea tieback at 68 miles.
    • Stones is the world’s deepest oil and gas project, operating in about 9,500 feet of water.
  • Shell continues to be a leading operator in the Gulf of Mexico, with eight production hubs and a network of subsea infrastructure. We are one of the largest leaseholders in the Gulf with access to some of the most prolific acreage.
  • Shell has a strong development pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico. In April, Shell announced it had taken a final investment decision for the Vito development which was redesigned to reduce costs and competitively develop the opportunity.
  • The Appomattox production hub is secure on its location in the Gulf of Mexico, with production planned for 2019.
  • In January, Shell announced one of its largest Gulf of Mexico exploration finds in the past decade with Whale, located approximately 200 miles southwest of Houston.
  • In May, Shell announced a large, deep-water exploration discovery with the Dover well. It is located approximately 13 miles from the Appomattox host.
  • Shell’s enduring presence in the state of Louisiana began over a century ago and encompasses nearly every aspect of our business. This includes oil and gas exploration and production, pipeline supply and distribution, refining, chemicals and LNG for transport.
  • Over the past two years, Shell has contributed $13.8 million in social investment to Louisiana.

Cautionary Note

The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate legal entities. In this release “Shell”, “Shell group” and “Royal Dutch Shell” are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general. Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them. These terms are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular entity or entities. ”Subsidiaries”, “Shell subsidiaries” and “Shell companies” as used in this release refer to entities over which Royal Dutch Shell plc either directly or indirectly has control. Entities and unincorporated arrangements over which Shell has joint control are generally referred to as “joint ventures” and “joint operations”, respectively.  Entities over which Shell has significant influence but neither control nor joint control are referred to as “associates”. The term “Shell interest” is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect ownership interest held by Shell in an entity or unincorporated joint arrangement, after exclusion of all third-party interest.

This release contains forward-looking statements (within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Royal Dutch Shell. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Royal Dutch Shell to market risks and statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as “aim”, “ambition’, ”anticipate”, ”believe”, ”could”, ”estimate”, ”expect”, ”goals”, ”intend”, ”may”, ”objectives”, ”outlook”, ”plan”, ”probably”, ”project”, ”risks”, “schedule”, ”seek”, ”should”, ”target”, ”will” and similar terms and phrases. There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Royal Dutch Shell and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements included in this release, including (without limitation): (a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for Shell’s products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserves estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including regulatory measures addressing climate change; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; and (m) changes in trading conditions. No assurance is provided that future dividend payments will match or exceed previous dividend payments.  All forward-looking statements contained in this release are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Additional risk factors that may affect future results are contained in Royal Dutch Shell’s Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2017 (available at and ). These risk factors also expressly qualify all forward-looking statements contained in this release and should be considered by the reader.  Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of this release, October 15, 2018. Neither Royal Dutch Shell plc nor any of its subsidiaries undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information. In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward-looking statements contained in this release.

We may have used certain terms, such as resources, in this release that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) strictly prohibits us from including in our filings with the SEC.  U.S. Investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our Form 20-F, File No 1-32575, available on the SEC website


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