Shell upbeat on Gulf of Mexico potential

July 18, 2013 at 8:12 AM

HOUSTON, July 18 (UPI) -- The Gulf of Mexico is expected to be a source of substantial oil production during the next several years, a Shell Oil executive said.

Shell announced Wednesday it was closing down its Auger platform in the Gulf of Mexico in order to retrofit the platform to accommodate the Cardamom subsea development for future development. Shell set drilling records for depth and production with its Auger platform and it's expected to reach a peak production rate of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent by next year.

"The Gulf of Mexico remains an important part of Shell's portfolio and strategy, and it is expected to generate substantial growth over the next several years," said John Hollowell, Shell's deputy deep water chief, in a statement.

Auger has produced more than 300 million barrels of oil equivalent per day since it started production in 1994. It's situated in 2,860 feet of water.

Oil production in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico is picking up steam in the wake of BP's giant oil spill in 2010. The government imposed a brief moratorium on deep water drilling in response to the incident.

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Thursday authorities in Louisiana are frustrated with the U.S. Coast Guard, which said BP is not required to address residual oil found at a historic park near the western end of Grand Terre Island.

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