Shell Announces Final Investment Decision for Sparta Deep-Water Development in U.S. Gulf of Mexico

By Editor


Shell Offshore Inc., a subsidiary of Shell plc, has unveiled the Final Investment Decision (FID) for Sparta, a significant deep-water project located in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, marking a milestone in the company’s strategic approach towards streamlined and replicable ventures.

Sparta, jointly owned by Shell Offshore (51 percent operator) and Equinor Gulf of Mexico (49 percent), is slated to achieve a peak production of approximately 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) and currently boasts an estimated recoverable resource volume of 244 million boe. The development, scheduled to become Shell’s 15th deep-water host in the Gulf of Mexico, is set to commence production operations in 2028.

The project underscores Shell’s commitment to cost-effective development strategies, highlighting standardized and simplified host designs that were initially introduced with the Vito development and later replicated at the Whale development. Sparta represents an advanced iteration of these approaches, mirroring around 95 percent of Whale’s hull and 85 percent of its topsides.

Zoe Yujnovich, Shell’s Integrated Gas & Upstream Director, emphasized the significance of replication in delivering enhanced value from their strategic positions, stating, “Shell’s latest deep-water development demonstrates the power of replication, driving greater value from our advantaged positions.”

Leveraging over four decades of deep-water expertise, Sparta marks Shell’s pioneering endeavor in the Gulf of Mexico to extract from reservoirs with pressures up to 20,000 pounds per square inch.

In a progressive move towards environmental sustainability, the Sparta development is poised to be Shell’s inaugural replicable project featuring all-electric topside compression equipment, aiming to notably reduce greenhouse gas intensity and operational emissions.

Spanning across four Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) blocks in the Garden Banks area of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the Sparta development will entail a semi-submersible production host in water depths surpassing 1,400 meters (4,700 feet). It will initially house eight oil and gas producing wells.

The Sparta design closely mirrors the operational frameworks of Vito and Whale, both adopting the configuration of four-column semi-submersible host facilities. Vito, situated in the greater Mars Corridor, commenced production in February 2023, while Whale, scheduled for activation in 2024, will be stationed in the Perdido corridor.

The current estimations regarding recoverable resource volumes stand at 244 million boe, classified as 2P according to the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Resource Classification System. It’s important to note that the projected peak production and recoverable resources are presented as 100 percent total gross figures.

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