Key facts

Location: 100 kilometres off Sabah, Malaysia

Water depth: Around 500 metres (1,640 feet)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. It follows 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 barrels per day (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, while Petronas Carigali has 30%.

Featuring the company’s first tension leg platform (TLP) in the country, Malikai is an example of the strength of Shell’s global deep water business, applying TLP expertise from decades of operations in the US Gulf of Mexico.

The platform, which floats on the surface of the sea while moored securely to the sea floor, produces and pipes oil 50km (around 30 miles) to the shallow-water Kebabangan platform for processing. 

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

malikai platform employees working below


During the 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, and is designed for use with high-performance drilling fluids able to increase efficiency.

The main drilling campaign was conducted from aboard the platform using a separate tender-assisted drilling unit. This lowered costs and removed the need for a heavier platform rig.

The team behind Malikai have also 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. This reuse of support buoys from a previous project 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. This 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

Onshore fabrication and commissioning of the Malikai deep-water platform was completed in June 2016 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.

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

employee walking on malikai platform.jpg

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 road safety, 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 assist local fisherman fish in area away from the platform through the setting up of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in selected locations.

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 many 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.

Deep-water safety training goes virtual

Deep-water safety training goes virtual

How a visit to a shopping centre led to the use of virtual reality in safety training for a new oil production project in Malaysia.

Read the Inside Energy story

More in About Us

Our major projects

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


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

you may also be interested in

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.

The role technology plays

Our researchers, scientists and engineers research, develop and deploy technologies that help Shell to provide more and cleaner energy in a changing energy system.

Technical careers

Human solutions to global challenges: find out how you can develop your career in our technical teams.