Shell started production from its Cardamom subsea oil and gas field located in the Gulf of Mexico. The Cardamom system is tied back to Shell's Auger tension leg platform (TLP), marking the seventh subsea development to come onstream through the platform since first oil was achieved in 1994.
Cardamom is located in Garden Banks Block 427 about 362km southwest of New Orleans in water more than 820m deep. Shell estimates its peak production level to be 50,000boe/d, increasing Auger’s production capacity to 130,000boe/d. Shell says that the additional field will make Auger the company’s largest net producing platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
The field's subsea system includes five well expandable manifolds, a dual 8-in. flowline, and eight well umbilicals. Cardamom's wells were drilled by the Noble Jim Thompson drilling rig.
Discovered in 2010, more than 4mi of layered salt in rock crown the Cardamom reservoir.
Wide azimuth (WAZ) seismic imaging and ocean bottom seismic aided in Cardamom’s discovery and subsequent production. In addition to the WAZ, Shell used fiber optic drilling technology to drill the well. An additional round of ocean bottom seismic is planned to monitor production, Shell said.
Auger was Shell’s first TLP in the Gulf of Mexico, and the company said that in order to take advantage of its existing infrastructure, the platform necessitated renovations. Production was maintained throughout its modifications, which Shell said included additional subsea receiving equipment; and upgrade of an existing process train; and weight mitigation, which increases the liquid handling, cooling and production capacity of the host facility.
The Auger is expected to produce for at least another 15 years.
The supermajor said that that Cardamom’s production began ahead of schedule. When the final investment decision was reached in June 2011, Shell said that Cardamom would produce more than 140MMboe over its lifetime.
Cardamom marks the supermajor’s second start-up in the Gulf of Mexico in 2014. The operator’s Mars B development began production in February through the Olympus TLP.
Shell is the sole owner of the Cardamom field.
Image of the Auger platform from Shell.