Illustration; Source: Shell

Shell hands out deal for deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico project

Shell Offshore, a subsidiary of the UK-headquartered energy giant Shell, has hired Australia’s engineering company Worley to support its deepwater development project in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

Illustration; Source: Shell

Worley revealed on Monday, 8 May 2023, that it was selected by Shell to provide services for Sparta, a floating development in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, previously known as North Platte. The Sparta field was discovered in 2012 by Cobalt International Energy, which at the time held 60 per cent interest, while Total (now TotalEnergies) held the remaining 40 per cent.

In March 2018, Equinor joined as a partner by acquiring Cobalt’s 40 per cent interest, while TotalEnergies became the operator of this project with a 60 per cent interest, following the acquisition of a 20 per cent stake for $339 million during Cobalt’s bankruptcy auction sale.

Previously, TotalEnergies started the front-end engineering and design for the North Platte discovery in December 2019 and Worley was working on the FEED for the development under a contract awarded in early 2020. The final investment decision was expected in 2021, however, TotalEnergies withdrew from the project in February 2022 releasing all its equity to Equinor, which agreed to sell 51 per cent of its interest in the project to Shell last year.

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Under the contract with Shell, Worley will provide engineering, design, procurement support, construction and commissioning support for the FEED, detailed design and follow-on phases of the project, incorporating the Australian player’s design for a lightweight floating production unit, previously deployed on two other Shell-operated projects.

Furthermore, Worley will implement a full suite of digital tools to provide its project services, which will be executed by its offices in Houston, Texas and Metairie, Louisiana with support from its Global Integrated Delivery (GID) team in India.

Located approximately 170 miles off the Louisiana coast, the Sparta development is operated by Shell with a 51 per cent interest, while its partner, Equinor, holds the remaining 49 per cent. The two energy players are progressing the project toward a final investment decision expected later in 2023.

Chris Ashton, Chief Executive Officer of Worley, commented: “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Shell on this third floating production unit and deliver this repeatable solution for their Gulf of Mexico assets.”

Sparta straddles four blocks of the Garden Banks area – GB blocks 915, 916, 958 and 959 – 275 kilometres off the coast of Louisiana in approximately 1,300 meters or 4,265 feet water depth.

The deal with Shell comes only days after Worley disclosed a contract with Malaysia Marine & Heavy Engineering to provide detailed engineering design services for Petronas’ huge carbon capture and storage (CCS) project offshore Sarawak, Malaysia.