Shell is using ground-breaking technology to develop five fields in the Gulf of Mexico in a $1.4 billion project that could signal the future for producing small and medium hydrocarbon finds.
The project will use a single host platform linked by subsea flowlines to five small to medium fields that were discovered in the 1980s but were not economically viable at the time because of limited deepwater technology.
Named NaKika, after the Polynesian god of the Octopus, the development will have peak production of 425 MMcf/d of gas and 110,000 b/d of oil from 10 subsea satellite wells with initial production expected to begin later this year. The project is a joint venture with BP who will operate NaKika once production begins.
The 40,000-ton semisubmersible host platform is being placed this month 140 mi southeast of New Orleans in Mississippi Canyon block 474. It recently underwent inspections by the US Coast Guard and had a flare tower added. It arrived in Texas April 17 after a two-month, 16,000-mi journey from the Hyundai fabrication yard in South Korea.
Work is also being completed this month on the subsea system that will consist of satellite oil and gas wells with flowlines to the host platform. Once the oil and gas arrives at the NaKika host platform, it will be processed and transported to shore via export pipelines. The fields lie in water depths ranging from 5,800 to 7,000 ft deep.
The Na Kika project represents a number of significant steps forward in the exploration and production of oil and gas. Located in a record-breaking 6,300 ft water depth, NaKika is the world's deepest permanent oil and gas development system and the first central host system for the development of five dispersed fields.
A sixth field, the Coulomb, which shell E&P owns 100%, will also be tied back to the host platform with production expected to begin next year.