Conquering the ultra-deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is among the greatest challenges facing the oil and gas industry today. Explorationists have found significant quantities of hydrocarbons in the ultra-deep GOM. Since Shell Offshore Inc. (Shell) has over one-third of the deepwater GOM acreage under lease today, development of this vast new oil and gas reserve represents a major opportunity.

Shell's "Auger" field, located in Garden Banks 426, was discovered in 1987 in 2,860 feet of water. This discovery kicked off a project of mammoth proportions for Shell and the industry. Shell designed and built a Tension Leg Platform (TLP) and related drilling and producing facilities for the major discovery at Prospect Auger. A TLP is a floating structure which is tethered to the seafloor, This $1.2 billion development is located in a world record shattering water depth of 2,860 feet. Integrating the complexities of this floating structure with the challenges of the subsurface makes Auger the most complex project ever undertaken by Shell's Production Department.

The Auger Project, which was conceived in 1989, is now installed within three months of the original target and $100 million under the original estimate. This is a significant success for Shell and the industry in the deepwater GOM as it opens the ultra-deepwater GOM frontier as an energy source to fuel America for decades to come.

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