US independents Beacon Offshore Energy, Navitas Petroleum and HEQ Deepwater have sanctioned the Shenandoah project in the ultra-deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

News of the final investment decision came on Thursday with the announcement by Transocean that it had finalised a $252 million contract it had been awarded in July 2020 to charter its new eighth generation ultra-deepwater drillship Deepwater Atlas.

Beacon on Friday confirmed the project’s sanctioning in response to an Upstream inquiry.

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“We are committed to executing Shenandoah in a safe and efficient manner. We think projects like Shenandoah underscore the importance of the Gulf of Mexico as a competitive low carbon, responsible energy basin,” the company said.

Shenandoah lies 160 miles (257 kilometres) offshore Louisiana in Walker Ridge blocks 51, 52 and 53.

The Shenandoah project is comprised of two phases. The initial drilling programme will commence in 2022 and is expected to last about 255 days.

The well completion phase will commence in 2023 and is expected to last about 275 days, according to Beacon.

The company also confirmed that HEQ Deepwater has acquired a 20% interest in the project. HEQ Deepwater is a partnership between Quantum Energy Partners and Houston Energy, according to the Quantum Energy website.