Shell Offshore Inc. has reported the start of production from the company’s wholly owned and operated Stones development in the Walker Ridge area of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Production from Stones field, 200 miles southwest of New Orleans, is expected to reach 50,000 boe/d when fully ramped up at yearend 2017.
The host facility for what Shell is calling the world’s deepest offshore oil and gas project is a floating production, storage, and offloading vessel that produces through subsea systems in 9,500 ft of water. It is Shell’s 13th FPSO in its global deepwater portfolio. Stones is Shell’s second producing field from the Lower Tertiary frontier in the gulf, following the start-up of Perdido in 2010 (OGJ Online, Mar. 31. 2010).
Stones employs an innovative lazy-wave riser configuration, consisting of a steel catenary riser with buoyancy added with an arch bend to decouple the FPSO’s dynamic motions and subsequently increase riser performance. An ultradeepwater mooring system maintains the vessel’s location over the field.
The development will start with two subsea production wells tied back to the FPSO vessel, followed later by six additional production wells. Multiphase seafloor pumping is planned for a later phase to pump oil and gas from the seabed to the vessel.