Shell makes third oil discovery in Norphlet deepwater play

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has made its third major oil discovery in the Jurassic-period Norphlet play in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico with the Rydberg exploration well, drilled 75 miles offshore on Mississippi Canyon Block 525 in the eastern gulf.

The well was drilled in 7,479 ft of water by the Noble Corp.’s Noble Globetrotter I drillship to a total depth of 26,371 ft, encountering more than 400 ft of net oil pay. Shell says it’s wrapping up evaluation of well results and expects the resource base to reach 100 million boe.

The company’s Rydberg, Appomattox, and Vicksburg discoveries in Norphlet area are estimated to total a combined 700 million boe.

Shell, operator with 57.2% interest, is partnering in the block with Ecopetrol America Inc. 28.5% and CNOOC Ltd. affiliate Nexen Energy ULC 14.3%.

The discovery, the first for the group, is within 10 miles of the planned Appomattox development, of which Shell is operator with 80% and Nexen holds 20% (OGJ Online, Apr. 2, 2012); and the 2013 Vicksburg discovery, of which Shell is operator with 75% and Nexen holds 25% (OGJ Online, July 5, 2013).

The Noble Globetrotter I drillship will now move to drill an exploratory well at Gettysburg on Desoto Canyon Block 398, also within 10 miles of the planned Appomattox development.

Shell says Appomattox is in the design phase of development and moving forward with engineering design for the floating production system, subsea infrastructure, and wells.

Shell in 2013 produced nearly 180,000 boe/d from the gulf, which accounts for almost half of Shell’s oil and gas production in the US.

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