1 of 4 | Production from the Vito platform floating in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico should peak at around 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Photo courtesy of Shell
Feb. 16 (UPI) -- The start of oil production at a floating production facility in the Gulf of Mexico is balanced by low costs and a low greenhouse gas intensity, Shell and Equinor announced Thursday.
Shell, along with its minority partner Equinor, announced that production started at the Vito floating production facility in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Shell estimated peak production would be around 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Equinor, a Norwegian company, added the platform itself was reconfigured so that costs would be 70% lower than initially expected and emissions of the potent greenhouse gas would be 80% lower over its expected lifetime.
"Vito is an excellent example of how we are approaching our projects to meet the energy demands of today and tomorrow, while remaining resilient as we work toward achieving net zero emissions by 2050," Zoe Yujnovich, the director of exploration and production at Shell, said.
Shell has a long history of operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The start of operations at its Cognac platform in 1978 marked the first time a company was able to produce oil in deep waters of more than 1,000 feet.
Equinor, for its part, considers the Gulf of Mexico one of its "core areas" of growth in the country. With a combined 120,000 barrels of oil equivalent production from its combined assets, Equinor is one of the top five producers in the region.
"The U.S. Gulf of Mexico delivers some of Equinor's highest-value barrels, helping us meet society's critical energy needs while maintaining our focus on reducing emissions towards becoming a net-zero energy company by 2050," said Chris Golden, the U.S. country manager for Equinor.
Shareholders, however, might not be convinced. Environmental law firm ClientEarth, a Shell investor, charged the company last week with failing to uphold corporate obligations to address climate change.
"Shell is seriously exposed to the risks of climate change, yet its climate plan is fundamentally flawed," Paul Benson, a senior lawyer at ClimateEarth, said in a statement.
The U.S. territorial waters of the Gulf of Mexico account for about 15% of the nation's total crude oil and natural gas production.