Shell's Ursa deep water TLP begins production
Shell Exploration & Production Company (SEPCo) and its partners, BP Amoco, Conoco and Exxon, announced that they have begun oil and gas production from their Ursa tension leg platform (TLP), located in almost 4,000 feet of water in the deep water Gulf of Mexico. Production at this water depth surpasses the previous record for an oil and gas production platform set by the Shell-operated Ram-Powell TLP located in 3,214 feet of water in 1997.
Production began on March 8, 1999, four months ahead of the original schedule. The current production rate is about
13,000 bpd and 20 mm cfpd of gas from the first well. Gross ultimate recovery is estimated at about 400 mm boe.
"In this challenging technical and economic environment, early production from Ursa is a positive accomplishment, directly resulting from the tremendous efforts put forth by the men and women on the Ursa team," commented Rich Pattarozzi, SEPCo's Deepwater Division General Manager.
Ursa was developed using an integrated project team approach, which included personnel from the partner companies.
Ursa is one of six new deep water projects currently under development by Shell in the deep water Gulf of Mexico,
bringing the total number of deep water developments in which Shell is involved to 17, the most in the
"While the current oil and gas price environment has caused us to critically assess our deep water expenditure levels, we fully intend to proceed with the completion of all of our announced development projects," said Walter van de Vijver, President and CEO for Shell Exploration & Production Company. "We continue to see the Gulf of Mexico deep water as a key growth area domestically and an important element in the Shell global portfolio."
The Ursa tension leg platform, located about 130 miles south-east of New Orleans on Mississippi Canyon Block 809, is
the largest structure in the Gulf of Mexico, with a total deck height of 485 feet to the crown of the drilling rig,
or over 48 stories tall, and deck area of over 2.1 acres. The platform is attached to the seafloor over 3,800 feet
below, with 16 steel tendons, each 32 inches in diameter and weighing a total of 16,000 tons. Total steel weight of
the structure is over 63,300 tons, with a total displacement of 97,500 tons, greater than a Nimitz Class aircraft
The six deck modules were constructed by McDermott in Amelia, La. The hull was built by Belleli Offshore in Taranto, Italy. Integration and installation activities were executed by Heerema of Leiden, The Netherlands.
Shell Deepwater Production. is the operator and holds a 45 % interest in Ursa. BP Amoco has a 23 % interest, and Conoco and Exxon each hold 16 % in the project.