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Shell launches development of major new Gulf of Mexico discovery

Shell today announced a significant, multi-billion dollar investment to develop its major Cardamom oil and gas field in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). The Cardamom project is expected to produce 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) a day at peak production and more than 140 million boe over its lifetime.

“Technological advances in seismic imaging and drilling have allowed us to both discover and access this new field,” said Marvin Odum, Shell Upstream Americas Director. “This is another sizeable deep-water investment by Shell that strengthens energy supplies to the USA. It will also secure employment for more offshore workers.”

Shell’s rigorous global safety standards underpin our approach to deep-water exploration and production. Our exploration plan for Cardamom (Shell interest 100%) was the first to receive approval since the lifting of the US government moratorium on drilling in the GoM. As a result of today’s final investment decision, Shell will move ahead with further development drilling and installing undersea equipment.

Shell discovered the Cardamom reservoir in 2010 using advanced seismic technology that was able to produce improved images versus traditional seismic methods. The discovery was confirmed by drilling a well from Shell’s Auger platform that broke records for length and depth. The exploration wells were drilled more than 6.4 kilometres (four miles) below the seabed.

Production from Cardamom will flow through the Auger platform, minimising the offshore footprint by using existing infrastructure.

The development of the Cardamom field is the latest step in Shell’s deep-water energy production activities in the GoM. Perdido, the world’s deepest offshore production facility, came on-stream in 2010. Later that year Shell announced the decision to go ahead with a second platform in our Mars B field in the GoM.

Today’s final investment decision for Cardamom is in line with Shell’s continued drive to increase global oil and gas production. The rapid progress from discovery of the reservoir to the launch of development plans represents Shell’s ability to move forward with projects of major value.

Enquiries

Shell Media Relations
International, UK, European Press - David Williams: +31 70 377 3600
United States - Bill Tanner:  +1 713 241 7228


Shell Investor Relations
Europe - Tjerk Huysinga: + 31 70 377 3996
United States - Ken Lawrence: +1 713 241 2069

Notes to editors

  • Cardamom is 100% Shell owned and operated.
  • The Cardamom discovery is located in Garden Banks Block 427, approximately 362 kilometres (225 miles) south-west of New Orleans, Louisiana, in water more than 800 metres (2,720 feet) deep.
  • The completed subsea system will include five well expandable manifolds, a dual 20-centimetre (8-inch) flowline, and eight well umbilicals.  
  • Modifications to the Auger platform will include additional subsea receiving equipment, a new production train and weight mitigation, which is expected to significantly increase the Cardamom liquid handling, cooling and production capacities.
  • The Cardamom discovery was a result of advances in seismic imaging and extended reach drilling.  The potential of Cardamom was first recognised early in the Auger development, but could not be fully assessed due to a layer of salt nearby which affected the quality of traditional seismic images.  Advances in seismic imaging helped achieve significant improvements.  
  • The Cardamom discovery well was drilled from Auger and features a measured depth of 9,642 metres (31,634 feet), a reach of more than 4,570 metres (15,000 feet), and a vertical depth greater than 7,620 metres (25,000 feet).
  • The first Cardamom exploration well has been producing directly from the Auger platform since December, 2010. 
  • Since initial development in 1994, the Auger field has produced more than 300 million barrels of oil equivalent.
The Cardamom field is located 6.4kms (4 miles) below the seafloor the other side of a salt column from the main Auger fields.

The Cardamom field is located 6.4kms (4 miles) below the seafloor the other side of a salt column from the main Auger fields.


Cautionary note
The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate entities. In this press release "Shell", "Shell group" and "Royal Dutch Shell" are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general. Likewise, the words "we", "us" and "our" are also used to refer to subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them. These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies. ''Subsidiaries'', "Shell subsidiaries" and "Shell companies" as used in this press release
refer to companies in which Royal Dutch Shell either directly or indirectly has control, by having either a majority of the voting rights or the right to exercise a controlling influence. The companies in which Shell has significant influence but not control are referred to as "associated companies" or "associates" and companies in which Shell has joint control are referred to as "jointly controlled entities". In this press release, associates and jointly controlled entities are also referred to as "equity-accounted investments". The term "Shell interest" is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect (for example, through our 24% shareholding in Woodside Petroleum Ltd.) ownership interest held by Shell in a venture, partnership or company, after exclusion of all third-party interest.

This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Royal Dutch Shell. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management's current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Royal Dutch Shell to market risks and statements expressing management's expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as ''anticipate'', ''believe'', ''could'', ''estimate'', ''expect'', ''intend'', ''may'', ''plan'', ''objectives'', ''outlook'', ''probably'', ''project'', ''will'', ''seek'', ''target'', ''risks'', ''goals'', ''should'' and similar terms and phrases. There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Royal Dutch Shell and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements included in this press release, including (without limitation): (a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for the Shell's products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserve estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including potential litigation and regulatory measures as a result of climate changes; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; and (m) changes in trading conditions. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Additional factors that may affect future results are contained in Royal Dutch Shell's 20-F for the year ended 31 December, 2010 (available at www.shell.com/investor  and www.sec.gov ). These factors also should be considered by the reader. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of this press release, 8 June 2011. Neither Royal Dutch Shell nor any of its subsidiaries undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information. In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. There can be no assurance that dividend payments will match or exceed those set out in this press release in the future, or that they will be made at all.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) permits oil and gas companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only proved reserves that a company has demonstrated by actual production or conclusive formation tests to be economically and legally producible under existing economic and operating conditions. We use certain terms in this press release, such as resources and oil in place, that SEC's guidelines strictly prohibit us from including in filings with the SEC. U.S. Investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our Form 20-F, File No 1-32575, available on the SEC website www.sec.gov . You can also obtain these forms from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330.

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