Shell confirms 'major' Norphlet discovery


Shell has confirmed that it made a discovery at a deep-water wildcat in the US Gulf of Mexico, terming the find "major".

The Anglo-Dutch supermajor struck at least 122 metres of net oil pay at the Rydberg Deep exploration well in Mississippi Canyon Block 525, it revealed on Tuesday.

The well on the Norphlet play was drilled with the drillship Noble Globetrotter I to 8038 metres in 2280 metres of water.

The oil giant expects its evaluation of the well to yield a resource base of approximately 100 million barrels of oil equivalent.

The discovery adds to the Appomattox and Vicksburg finds on the field, together now totaling some 700 million boe.

Shell said the discovery sits within 16 kilometres of both Appomattox and Vicksburg.

The European oil giant hit total depth on the well late last month, with industry sources pointing to a discovery.

Rydberg Deep was targeting the Jurassic-aged Norphlet trend. Some estimates had projected a potential of at least 90 million boe in place.

The first attempt at Rydberg Deep, spudded in early February, was abandoned after Shell encountered a shallow water flow.

The company moved the drillship about 500 feet to spud another well.

Shell operates the well on 57.2%, with Colombia's Ecopetrol on 28.5% and China National Offshore Oil Corporation on 14.3% through Canadian affiliate Nexen.

Shell has been trying to prove up additional resources in the area surrounding the giant Appomattox discovery, which brought the Norphlet play to the industry’s attention in 2010.

Recently-completed appraisals at Appomattox show more than 600 million barrels of recoverable resources in that field, where Shell is planning a semi-submersible development concept to the north-east of Rydberg Deep.

Shell and Nexen are to follow up the Rydberg probe with a wildcat at Gettysburg in Desoto Canyon Block 398, also within 16 kilometres of the planned Appomattox development.

Elsewhere in the Norphlet, Murphy Oil is said to be approaching its target depth on the Titan well in De Soto Canyon 178.

Later this year, Statoil could spud its Perseus well, one of its top US Gulf prospects.


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