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Key facts

Key facts

Location: Gulf of Mexico, USA
Depth: 914 metres (3,000 feet)
Interests:   Shell (71.5% & operator) and BP (28.5%)
Field: Mars
Design Production: 100 kbbl/d
Project development mars b

The Olympus tension leg platform (TLP) started producing on February 4, 2014. It had been towed to its final destination in the Gulf of Mexico in July 2013. Shell had taken final investment decision on the Mars-B development, including Olympus, in September 2010. The TLP is the second at the Mars field and the sixth of its type for Shell in the Gulf of Mexico.

The development adds the six-well West Boreas/South Deimos subsea developments. The US government approved the West Boreas/South Deimos exploration plan and West Boreas-001 application for a permit to drill on July 11, 2011. We used the Noble Jim Day, a semisubmersible drilling rig, to drill the initial West Boreas development well.

The government approved our Olympus exploration plan and application for permit to drill towards the end of 2011. Shell’s Olympus hull arrived safely in Ingleside, Texas in early 2013, where the lift and set of the topsides modules were completed. The Olympus tension leg platform left the shipyard in Ingleside in July 2013, headed for the Gulf of Mexico, 209 kilometres (130 miles) south of New Orleans.

We discovered the Mars field in 1989 and started production in 1996. Located in the Mississippi Canyon Protraction Area of the Gulf of Mexico, the field lies in around 914 metres (3,000 feet) of water. It is a prolific deep-water oil field and provides part of the Gulf of Mexico’s critical contribution to the US energy supply.

Project development mars b

The Mars field has been one of Shell’s most important fields over the last 15 years. When we discovered the field in 1989, we estimated the field to have nearly 700 million boe of resources. To date the field has produced over 770 million boe.

Mars B will enable production to reach an estimated 1.1 billion boe. The Olympus TLP, along with our subsea tie backs West Boreas and South Deimos, will prolong access to the prolific Mars oil and natural gas field until at least 2050. We aim to start production in around 2014 and the combined development has potential to deliver production rates in the order of ~100k boe/d.

We initially developed the field using the Mars A 24 well tension leg platform. Given the field’s sizeable resources, we identified the need for extra infrastructure to boost the ongoing development of the field. In September 2010, we decided to proceed with the commercial agreements and development plans for the Mars B Project.


Technology mars b

Mars B adds new infrastructure to the Mars Field: an Olympus tension-leg platform with 24 well slots and a self-contained drilling rig; the West Boreas subsea system; and an oil-and-gas export system, including a WD-143C shallow-water platform.

Environment and society

During the project’s development and operations, Mars B will generate opportunities for the Gulf of Mexico region through the creation of jobs, revenue, and better infrastructure.

Shell is also investing $5m in community and environmental initiatives, partnering with groups that include The Nature Conservancy, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, and LA-1 Coalition.

Deep-water milestones