Report: Two workers killed aboard Shell’s Auger platform in Gulf of Mexico

Two offshore workers have reportedly been killed in an incident aboard Shell’s Auger platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

For Illustration only; Shell's Auger platform - Image source: Shell
For Illustration only; Shell’s Auger platform – Image source: Shell

According to Reuters, the incident happened on Sunday morning during a test related to “a lifeboat launch and retrieval capabilities” at the Auger deepwater platform. One other person sustained a non-life-threatening injury.

Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Shell and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, seeking confirmation of the report, and more information.

The BSEE referred us the U.S. Coast Guard as the lead federal agency. The U.S. Coast Guard has yet to respond to Offshore Energy Today’s request for comment.

We will update the article once we have more information.

As for the Auger platform, in 1994, it was the world’s first tension leg platform, operating in the US Gulf of Mexico, moored to the sea floor 830 meters (2,720 feet) below. The platform’s life was extended when it in 2014 began producing energy from a nearby Cardamom field.

More to follow…


Offshore Energy Today Staff

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Shell’s Brent Bravo topside arrives at UK port to be scrapped

Shell’s Brent Bravo platform topside has arrived at Able UK’s Able Seaton Port following its removal from the UK North Sea with the giant Pioneering Spirit vessel earlier this week. 

Brent Bravo; Source: Able UK

The Allseas-owned Pioneering Spirit vessel removed the 25,000 t Brent Bravo topsides last Tuesday. Watch the video of the removal operation here.

The operation took approximately four hours, from positioning the vessel around the platform to the moment of the lift. The actual “fast lift” of the topsides took only nine seconds.

UK’s decommissioning expert, Able UK, announced the arrival of the topsides to its port on Thursday, June 20 in preparation for its dismantling and recycling.

The Brent Bravo, which stands 410ft tall and 230ft wide, is the second platform from the Shell Brent field to be decommissioned at Able Seaton Port—the first, the Brent Delta, arrived in May 2017. Both were transported from north-east of Shetland by the Pioneering Spirit, one of the largest vessels ever built.

After arriving off the North East coast, the Brent Bravo was transferred to a 200-meter long barge, the Iron Lady, for the final part of the journey to Able Seaton Port where it is currently moored on Quay 6.

Next week, the final manoeuvre will see the platform ‘skidded’ on to the multi-million-pound demolition pad which forms part of what is probably the strongest quay in Europe, Able UK said.

Peter Stephenson, founder and Executive Chairman of Able UK, said: “As with the Brent Delta, this operation has involved one of the heaviest lifts ever undertaken and is a success for everyone involved, especially our partners Shell and Allseas.

“Once again the Brent Bravo will provide a spectacular addition to the Teesside skyline for some time as we undertake the decommissioning program with the aim of recycling over 98 percent of the structure.”

Able invested £28 million in constructing this new facility to meet the requirements for handling the Brent platforms.

During 2020, Able Seaton Port will welcome a number of other new large-scale projects including the next element of the Shell project – the Brent Alpha – as well a series of platforms and structures from the ExxonMobil operated Sable Offshore Energy Project (SOEP) off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Furthermore, from September 2020, Able Seaton Port will be the installation base for the 90 turbines that will comprise the Triton Knoll offshore wind farm.

Stephenson commented: “We have invested very significantly over the last few years and we are now seeing the results. There is a certain synergy in being engaged with the end of life process for parts of the oil and gas sector whilst also being heavily involved with the development of offshore wind farms as the new focus for power generation..”


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Rystad: Oil production in U.S. Gulf of Mexico set for record year

Oil production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is set to make new records in the imminent future, according to Norwegian oil and gas intelligence firm Rystad Energy.

Shell’s Appomattox platform. Image source: Crowley

Rystad said on Friday that GoM oil production was a mere 1.28 million bpd in 2013, whereas in 2018 production averaged a record high of 1.79 million bpd.

The intelligence company forecasted that 2019 production would average 1.95 million bpd, with some months potentially touching the 2 million bpd ceiling.

Joachim Milling Gregersen, analyst on Rystad Energy’s upstream team, said: “With earlier than planned production, Appomattox will be a key growth contributor to help push U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil production toward a new record high before year-end.”



To remind, Shell started production from its Appomattox floating production platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico earlier this month.

Production from the platform kicked off several months ahead of its expected startup in the third quarter of 2019.

Appomattox, Shell’s largest floating production system in the Gulf of Mexico, will host the adjacent Appomattox and Vicksburg hydrocarbon accumulations.

According to Rystad, plateau production at the development will be around 140,000 boe per day while Shell claims that the expected production will peak at 175,000 boe per day.

Shell is the operator of the project with a 79 percent stake, while China’s CNOOC owns 21 percent. Oil produced from the Appomattox will be moved by the Mattox Pipeline to the Proteus pipeline system and then onshore.

“The torch has been carried by large deepwater fields, of which Appomattox is the latest contribution,” Gregersen added.


Spotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Offshore Energy Today, established in 2010, is read by more than 10.000 industry professionals daily.

We had almost 9 million page views in 2018, with 2.4 million new users. This makes us one of the world’s most attractive online platforms in the space of offshore oil and gas.

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New pipeline transports first oil from Shell’s Appomattox

AppomattoxAppomattox; Source: Shell

Shell Midstream Partners has informed that the systems owned by Proteus Oil Pipeline Company and Endymion Oil Pipeline Company increased volumes of crude oil from the startup of the Shell-operated Appomattox floating production system in the Gulf of Mexico via the newly commissioned Mattox Pipeline.

The Mattox Pipeline is majority owned and operated by Shell Pipeline Company (SPLC). Shell Midstream Partners owns a 10% interest in each of Proteus and Endymion.

“The Gulf of Mexico remains an important part of the US production story – as evidenced by these new volumes,” said Kevin Nichols, CEO, Shell Midstream Partners.

“Over the last three years, most of the 19 sanctioned projects across the Gulf of Mexico flow through our systems, giving us the ideal position to capture growth. Our offshore corridor strategy is working – and we are pleased with the resilience and growth that the Gulf of Mexico provides.”

Appomattox, which currently has an expected production of 175,000 boe/d, achieved first oil on May 23, 2019. According to Shell, Appomattox has realized cost reductions of more than 40% since taking the final investment decision in 2015. Shell is the operator of the project with a 79 percent stake, while China’s CNOOC owns 21 percent.

The Mattox Pipeline is transporting oil from Appomattox into the Proteus and Endymion systems, which ultimately connect to onshore markets via the Clovelly, LA storage hub.


Spotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email.

Offshore Energy Today, established in 2010, is read by over 10,000 industry professionals daily. We had nearly 9 million page views in 2018, with 2.4 million new users. This makes us one of the world’s most attractive online platforms in the space of offshore oil and gas and allows our partners to get maximum exposure for their online campaigns. 

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OKEA takes operatorship of license near Draugen field

Norwegian oil and gas company OKEA has taken over Shell’s 50% working interest and operatorship of production license (PL) 958 in the Norwegian Sea.

Draugen; Source: Wiki Commons – Author: Sven Mandel – under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license

OKEA said on Thursday that the acreage was in the exploration phase and that data coverage was limited.

The license is located on the Trøndelag Platform, ten kilometers east of the Draugen Field, where OKEA is the operator and east of PL 1001 where OKEA is a partner.

The other license partners are Neptune and Petoro which hold 30 and 20 percent stakes respectively. The same companies are OKEA’s partners on the Draugen field.

Andrew McCann, SVP of subsurface in OKEA, said: “This position in PL958 strengthens our presence in the Draugen Area. We believe that the large license can contain a continuation of the Draugen geological trend and that there are interesting opportunities which could significantly expand the resource base for Draugen in the future.”

To remind, Shell’s Norwegian entity, A/S Norske Shell, reached an agreement with OKEA to sell its entire 44.56% interest in the Draugen field and a 12% interest in Gjøa for NOK 4.5 billion ($525M) in June last year.

OKEA completed the acquisition and took over operatorship of Draugen in late November 2018.

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Dutch prosecutor preparing criminal charges against Shell over Nigerian license deal

Shell Logo / Image source: Shell/Flickr – Shared under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office is preparing to bring criminal charges against Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell over the company’s involvement in oil block OPL 245 located offshore Nigeria.

The case is related to Shell and Eni’s acquisition of an offshore block in Nigeria in 2011.

Shell said on Friday it had been informed by the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office that they were nearing the conclusion of their investigation and were preparing to prosecute Royal Dutch Shell plc for criminal charges directly or indirectly related to the 2011 settlement of disputes over Oil Prospecting License 245 (OPL 245) in Nigeria.

“As appropriate, we will provide updates as this matter progresses,” Shell added in the brief statement on Friday.

Shell is already facing charges for bribery at a Milan court related to the same deal together with Italian oil major Eni.

Eni and Shell jointly bought the block in question in 2011 for more than one billion U.S. dollars. In 2014, the Milan Prosecutor’s office launched an investigation to see where the payment went and whether Eni and Shell knew, as it has been alleged, that the money didn’t end up in the state coffers but was passed on further to the former oil minister Dan Etete.

The OPL 245 license had been owned by Malabu oil company, allegedly secretly owned by Etete. The allegations are that the Nigerian government gave the license to Shell and Eni for more than a billion dollars, and then passed the cash further to Malabu, that is, Etete.

Both Eni and Shell have been denying any wrongdoing since the start of the investigation.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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Shell enters into partnership with Cluff for Southern North Sea licenses

Cluff’s License P2252; Source: Cluff

London-based Cluff Natural Resources has entered into a binding, conditional farm out agreement and a three-month exclusive option with Shell in relation to the company’s Southern North Sea Licenses P2252 and P2437, respectively.

Cluff’s Chief Executive, Graham Swindells, said: “This partnership is a clear endorsement of the quality of the licenses in our portfolio and demonstrates the Cluff technical team’s ability to identify and transform overlooked or less understood opportunities.

“We are particularly excited at the prospect of embarking on our partnership with Shell with both parties sharing a commitment to further development in the Southern North Sea.

“Most importantly, we now have direct visibility over the route to future drilling activity, and the potential to create further significant value for shareholders.”

Farm out of license P2252

Under the terms of the farm out agreement, Shell will acquire a 70 percent working interest in License P2252, and be appointed as the license operator, in return for paying 100 percent of the costs of an agreed forward work program to the earlier of December 31, 2020, or the date on which a well investment decision is made.

Cluff will retain a 30 percent non-operated interest in License P2252.

The agreed work program for P2252 includes the shooting of not less than 400km2 of new broadband 3D seismic data over the Pensacola prospect in the summer of 2019, subsequent processing of new and existing seismic data and sub-surface studies required to support a well investment decision before the end of 2020.

All costs in relation to P2252 following the well investment decision will be satisfied by each party in proportion to their working interests.

Completion of the farm out is conditional on the entering into of a joint operating agreement and the obtaining of regulatory consent from the Oil & Gas Authority, subject to a six month backstop.

P2252 contains the Pensacola prospect which is estimated to contain unaudited mean GIIP of 566 BCF (equivalent to approximately 100 mmboe).

License P2437 option

The company has granted Shell the option to acquire a 50 percent working interest by April 30, 2019. If the option is exercised the company will retain a 50 percent working interest and operatorship until a well investment decision is made with Shell paying the costs to date. The consideration receivable by the company is a total of $600,000 which is comprised of an initial payment and a further payment upon completion.

If a decision is taken to drill an exploration well on P2437, Shell will pay a share in the proportion of 1.5:1 of the cost of an exploration well and the well test subject to an aggregate cap of $25 million. Shell would therefore pay 75% of costs up to a total of $25 million. Any cost over-runs associated with the well above this level are to be satisfied by each party in proportion to their working interest.

If the option is exercised completion will be conditional upon agreeing a joint operating agreement and receiving consent from the Oil & Gas Authority.

P2437 contains the Selene prospect which is estimated to contain unaudited mean GIIP of 509 BCF (equivalent to approximately 90 mmboe) and is located adjacent to Shell operated infrastructure associated with the Barque gas field.

Talks for P2248 license terminated

When it comes to its other licenses, Cluff said it was no longer in non-exclusive negotiations with its preferred bidder in relation to License P2248, as the bidder has been unable to demonstrate the necessary financial capacity to fund the forward work program within the necessary timeframe.

The company added it continues to pursue options for funding a well on this license with other potential partners. If the company runs out of time and a farm out is not agreed and announced by February 28, 2019, the company will relinquish the license and seek to re-license it in the UK’s 32nd Offshore Licence round.

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Shell returns workers to Brent Charlie platform after power outage

Anglo/Dutch oil major Shell has returned workers to the Brent Charlie North Sea platform following a power outage last week.

Aerial photography of Shell’s Brent Charlie Platform in the Northern North Sea / Image copyright: Shell

As previously reported, Shell had removed 135 non-essential workers to nearby Brent Alpha and Bravo platforms after the Brent Charlie had lost power. Coast Guard assisted with helicopter transfers.

Power went down just before 5 pm last Tuesday and was restored on Friday, with 48 crew remaining aboard to find and fix the problem.

In a statement on Monday, a Shell spokesperson said: “The process to return all personnel to Brent Charlie was completed yesterday (Sunday).”

The Brent Charlie platform is located approximately 185km (115 miles) North East of Lerwick.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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Noreco buying Shell assets in Denmark for $1.9 billion

Norwegian Energy Company ASA has reached an agreement to buy Shell’s assets in Denmark for $1.9 billion.

As part of the transaction, Noreco will acquire Shell’s shares in Shell Olie-og Gasudvinding Danmark B.V. (SOGU) which holds a 36.8% non-operating interest in the Danish Underground Consortium (DUC).

According to Noreco, the transaction will establish Noreco as an E&P company on the Danish Continental Shelf (“DCS”), and position it as the second largest oil and gas producer in the country.

As part of the agreement, Noreco will assume all of Shell’s existing commitments and obligations, including the Tyra redevelopment and the decommissioning costs associated with the assets.

The sale represents production of some 67,000 boe/d (Shell share) in 2017. Under the agreement, Shell Trading and Supply and Shell Energy Europe Limited will continue to have oil and gas lifting rights from the SOGU assets for a period after completion.

Local SOGU staff mostly dedicated to the DUC will pass to Noreco along with the business with their existing contracts of employment intact and full continuity of service.

Andy Brown, Shell’s Upstream Director, said: ‘’Today’s announcement is consistent with Shell’s strategy to simplify its portfolio through a $30 billion divestment programme, and contributes to our goal of reshaping the company into a world-class investment case.’’

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Shell in AI, machine learning push

Oil giant Shell has selected C3 IoT with Microsoft Azure as its artificial intelligence (AI) platform to “enable and accelerate digital transformation on a global scale.”

According to a statement by Microsoft, Shell expects to realize substantial economic value by rapidly scaling and replicating AI and machine learning applications across its upstream and downstream businesses and improving operational performance.

Yuri Sebregts, executive vice president for technology and CTO of Shell: “Digital technologies are core to our strategy to strengthen our position as a leading energy company.”

“Our collaboration with Microsoft gives us a solid digital platform to make our core business more effective and efficient and supports our ambition to provide more and cleaner energy solutions through technology.”

“Shell is demonstrating AI and IoT [the Internet of Things ] leadership in selecting C3 IoT and Azure for the Shell AI Platform,” said Thomas M. Siebel, chairman and CEO of C3 IoT. “This will enable Shell to rapidly realize the vision of digital transformation across all lines of business, including upstream, midstream, retail, and finance.”

Shell will deploy the C3 IoT Platform on Azure for a broad set of AI applications, starting with predictive maintenance for hundreds of thousands of critical pieces of equipment globally, and aims to expand to support other machine learning, machine vision, and natural language processing (NLP)-based use cases in upstream, downstream, unconventional, refining, and retail operations, Microsoft said on Thursday.

Setting pace for the industry

Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business: “As one of the energy sector’s largest and most prominent players, Shell’s wide-scale adoption of AI, machine learning and IoT technologies sets an example of how digital transformation can help the industry address resource challenges, improve asset performance and promote safety,” said  “We are excited to deepen our relationship with Shell as the company continues to be a digital pacesetter for the industry.”

According to C3 IoT, its platform enables Shell’s developers and data scientists to integrate and process Shell’s data into a unified data image kept current in real-time and to rapidly develop, deploy, and operate advanced AI and IoT applications across millions of Shell assets, its supply chain, and markets globally.

“With the C3 IoT Platform, we’re looking forward to significantly enhancing the productivity and scope of our advanced analytics capabilities to create greater economic value across Shell’s operations,” said Jay Crotts, Shell Group CIO. “C3 IoT allows us to optimize our existing investments in data and cloud infrastructure while accelerating time to value of AI-based applications, so Shell can better serve our customers with even more agility and efficiency.”

“Shell’s AI- and IoT-enabled enterprise transformation will create significant customer and economic impact,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business. “We are excited to play a role in this transformation and look forward to partnering with C3 IoT on cooperative development and marketing efforts across other sectors globally.”

“Shell’s selection of the C3 IoT Platform on Microsoft Azure reflects the growing macro-market momentum towards platform adoption for accelerated digital transformation,” said Thomas M. Siebel, C3 IoT CEO. “We are excited to partner closely with Azure to support Shell’s digital transformation journey and are jointly committed to Shell’s success in applying AI and machine learning across its global business.”

Offshore Energy Toda has reached out to Shell hoping to get more info and examples on the AI and IoT applications aboard Shell’s offshore facilities. We will update an article if we receive a response.

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