Royal Dutch Shell is pressing ahead with the world's deepest offshore oil and gas production facility by drilling almost two miles underwater in the politically sensitive Gulf of Mexico.
"This important investment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to usher in the next generation of deepwater developments, which will deliver more production growth in the Americas," said John Hollowell, Executive Vice President for Deepwater, Shell Upstream Americas, in a statement. "We will continue our leadership in safe, innovative deepwater operations to help meet the growing demand for energy in the U.S."
Shell's Gulf of Mexico field, called Stones, was discovered eight years ago 200 miles south-west of New Orleans and is 9,500ft below the sea.
The development will start with two subsea production wells tied back to the FPSO vessel, followed later by six additional production wells.
Shell said the first phase of the latest project is expected to have annual peak production of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
It added that the Stones field has "significant upside potential" and is estimated to contain more than two billion barrels of oil equivalent.
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