Key facts

Location: Gulf of Mexico, 210 kilometres (130 miles) from the coast of Louisiana

Depth: 1,372 metres (4,500 feet)

Interests: Shell (80% operator) and MOEX North America LLC (20%)

Fields: Kaikias

Average peak production: 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day 

Project overview

In August 2014 Shell discovered a new oil and gas reservoir at the Kaikias field, a field located in the prolific Mars-Ursa basin in the US Gulf of Mexico, approximately 210 kilometres (130 miles) from the Louisiana coast. The field is estimated to contain more than 100 million barrels of oil equivalent recoverable resource.

In February 2017 Shell announced the final investment decision to execute phase one of the Kaikias deep-water project using a sub-sea tieback design. Three wells, which are designed to produce up to 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day at peak rates, will pump oil and gas that will then be taken to the nearby Ursa production hub using a single flowline.

Economic resilience

Since taking the final investment decision in early 2017 Shell has managed to reduce costs on the Kaikias project by around 30%. By simplifying the well design and taking advantage of existing oil and gas processing equipment on Ursa, Shell minimised the need for additional top-side modifications. This lowered the forward-looking, break-even price to less than $30 per barrel of oil, down from a previously expected $40 per barrel.

In May 2018 Shell announced the early start of production – around one-year ahead of schedule – at the first phase of Kaikias.



In May 2019, Shell started production at Appomattox, a deep-water oil and gas development that is Shell’s largest floating platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mars B

Shell’s Mars B development is the first deep-water project in the US Gulf of Mexico to expand an existing offshore oil and gas field by adding new infrastructure.


Our major projects

Shell’s major projects show our technology and expertise in action.

Deep water

Shell has a long history of developing energy projects using its knowledge, experience and proven deep-water technologies to unlock new resources safely and efficiently. Read more about Shell’s deep-water work around the world.

Returning to deep water

Producing energy resources deep beneath the world’s oceans has been going on for 40 years. Most of the deep-water pioneers have retired. Now some of them are back in demand.