Key facts

Location: 100 kilometres off Sabah, Malaysia

Water depth: Around 500 metres (1,640 feet)

Interests: Shell 35% (Shell-operated), ConocoPhilips Sabah 35%, PETRONAS Carigali 30%

Key contractors: Technip-MMHE JV, IEV/Heerema, Technip Marine, UMW/Dril-Quip

Reservoir: Kinarut and Kamunsu-2

Average peak annual production: 60,000 bbl/d

malikai platform under construction

Project overview

Malikai is Shell’s second deep-water project in Malaysia, following Gumusut-Kakap, which started production successfully in 2014. 

The Malikai oil field lies around 100 kilometres (60 miles) off Sabah, Malaysia, in waters about 500 metres (1,640 feet) deep. It comprises two main reservoirs with a peak annual production of 60,000 bbl/d. The field is part of the Block G Production Sharing Contract awarded by PETRONAS in 1995. Shell, the operator, and ConocoPhillips each hold a 35% interest in the development, and PETRONAS Carigali has 30%.

The project features the first tension-leg platform (TLP) in Malaysia, which will float on the surface of the while moored securely to the sea floor. The platform will produce and pipe oil 50km (around 30 miles) to the shallow-water Kebabangan platform for processing. 

A small amount of natural gas produced from the field will power the TLP, and be pumped into the production tubing to help oil flow from the reservoir (“gas lift”). Any extra gas will be sent out via the Kebabangan platform.

Current developments

In June 2016 the Shell and Technip-MMHE joint venture successfully completed the onshore fabrication and commissioning of the Malikai deep-water platform at Pasir Gudang in Peninsular Malaysia. This major milestone for the project also marked the sail-away of the TLP on a 1,400-km (870-mile) journey to the Malikai field off Sabah.

Wells for the Malikai development will be drilled from the roughly 27,500-tonne TLP production facility. The first stage of drilling – the top part of the wells, or “top holes” – was completed safely in January 2015. The main drilling campaign will take place in 2016. 

Watch the Malikai platform being floated for the first time – timelapse video

malikai platform employees working below


During top-hole drilling, the project team installed a system, provided by IKM Group, which removes drilling fluids (“mud”) at the well openings. The system prevents the discharge of drilling fluid, reducing environmental impact. It is designed for use with high-performance drilling fluids able to increase efficiency.

The main drilling campaign will be conducted from aboard the platform using a separate tender-assisted drilling unit. This removes the need for a heavier platform rig and lowers costs.

The project team have been able to reuse eight giant tendon support buoys first deployed on the Mars B project in the Gulf of Mexico. The buoys temporarily hold the ends of mooring tendons, or tethers, in place until they can be connected to the platform during installation. The reuse of support buoys demonstrates how Shell replicates its approach across regions, while using standardised equipment, to boost efficiency.

The Malikai platform uses a special kind of pipe, or riser, for both drilling and production, each with a single lining. A system onboard holds the multi-use risers in place overhead. The innovative approach eliminates the cost of using two traditional sets of risers while cutting the number of steps needed to drill a well.

In July 2015, the project team successfully jacked up the topsides and moved – or skidded – them onto the platform legs in the fabrication yard at Pasir Gudang. The “superlift” was the world’s highest jacking and skidding operation for a platform of its scale, reaching a height of 40 metres.

Watch the Malikai superlift in 60 seconds – timelapse video

Environment and society

The platform’s construction has generated new jobs and business, with much of the work being carried out in Malaysia.

Shell continues to run major social investment programmes in Malaysia focusing on capacity-building, environmental conservation and community development.

Offshore Sabah is particularly rich in yellow-fin tuna. Shell and the Sabah Department of Fisheries are working on a project to enhance fishing stocks in alternative areas for local fishermen, and running awareness sessions for fishermen about planned activities connected to the Malikai project.

Shell is also leading and supporting activities to promote environmental awareness in Sarawak and Sabah; for example, through the SERASI (environmentally friendly school competition) and Nature Education Camp programmes for schools.

Shell funds hundreds of university students in Malaysia every year through its scholarship programme. We have also supported design and sports awards for young people.

Together with the Sarawak Education Department, Shell has supported a programme which trains welders, helping to meet demand for industry skills.

We also promote road safety awareness among schoolchildren and young motorists, working with the Road Safety Council as well as NGOs.

More in About Us


Our first deep-water project in Malaysia uses Shell’s advanced technology to safely produce and pipe oil from the Gumusut-Kakap field.

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