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Chevron prepares Gator Lake North

US player Chevron has received conditional approval for an exploration plan on a new prospect north of its Gator Lake well near the Anchor discovery, US records indicate.

The US supermajor has mapped out the Gator Lake North prospect, which covers Green Canyon 676, 632 and 675. The area lies 117 miles offshore in about 5500 feet of water.

Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell over the summer farmed in to a 25% stake on the block.

The remaining ownership includes the US supermajor on 30%, Cobalt on 19.5%, French major Total on 13% and Venari Offshore on 12.5%.

Shell is the third partner to join the acreage so far this year — Total and Cobalt also came to the table recently, both acquiring their stakes in the blocks in the early months of 2017.

Chevron's plan envisages a start-up of drilling operations on 1 January 2018, work that would run for 180 days. But it is unknown if this plan will in fact proceed.

The company filed the request on 10 July with the conditional approval issued on 22 September.

The US supermajor earlier this autumn cut short its contract for the Transocean drillship Discoverer Clear Leader once it wrapped up operations at the Gator Lake well in GC 720.

Chevron confirmed to Upstream that it hit total depth at Gator Lake at the probe in August and the results are being evaluated. It also indicated that the ownership breakdown had recently changed, with Chevron operating on 50%, and Total and Shell on 25% each.

BSEE records, which often see a delay of several months in the shift of ownership stakes, still showed Chevron on 30%, Shell on 25%, Cobalt on 19.5%, Total on 13% and Venari on 12.5%. It is unclear whether ownerships have also since changed on other nearby blocks.

Success at either of the Gator Lake wells could improve the prospects for a standalone development planned at Anchor, where Cobalt and Venari are also partners.

Anchor, discovered in 2014 and since proved up with multiple appraisal wells, has been described as a "hub class" resource. The original well was drilled to a depth of 33,750 feet (10,287 m) and encountered 690 feet (210 m) of net oil pay.

Chevron is in the early planning stages of a semi-submersible production platform at Anchor.

UK-listed Wood Group has confirmed it is working on the pre-front-end engineering and design for topsides at a potential Anchor facility, a mid-sized semisub with an expected capacity of around 100,000 boe per day. The pre-FEED is expected to wrap up later this year.

KBR is involved with work on design of a hull for the semisub, likely of a GVA 10000 design.