Shell Offshore, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, has reached a positive final investment decision for Whale, a deep-water development in the US Gulf of Mexico owned by Shell Offshore (60% operator) and Chevron (40%).
Discovered in 2017, Whale is in the Alaminos Canyon Block 773, adjacent to the Shell-operated Silvertip field and approximately 200 miles southwest of Houston.
The Whale production facility will feature a semi-submersible production host in more than 8,600 feet of water with 15 oil producing wells. Its design will closely replicate that of Vito, a four-column semi-submersible host facility located in the greater Mars Corridor. Whale’s 99% replicated hull and 80% replicated topsides from the Vito project enable the company to leverage the engineering, construction and supply chain of an earlier project, creating cost efficiencies and a short cycle time. Whale is consequently expected to achieve first oil 7.5 years after discovery.
With this development approach, Shell anticipates an internal rate of return estimated to be greater than 25%.
The Whale development is expected to reach peak production of approximately 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) and currently has an estimated recoverable resource volume of 490m boe. Whale will be Shell’s 12th deep-water host in the Gulf of Mexico and is scheduled to begin production in 2024.