“This is a special anniversary that we proudly celebrate with those who helped us drive that pioneering spirit – from the expertise of our employees and service providers to the support of the communities along the Gulf Coast,” said Rick Tallant, Vice President, Production, Deep Water Gulf of Mexico. “It’s an honor to be part of that legacy. What happened at Cognac in 1978 set Shell up for success in deep-water in the decades to follow.”
In 1978, Shell brought the Cognac oil and gas field into production in 1,025 feet of water. Cognac was deeper than any previous offshore discovery and marked the first time that an energy company pushed the frontiers of deep water beyond the 1,000-foot water depth. To develop this field, the company designed and built the world's tallest and heaviest drilling and production platform.
When Shell acquired Cognac in a lease sale, the prospect was far beyond the depths common for the industry at that time. A vessel to drill in more than 1,000 feet of water did not yet exist. Shell translated teamwork and innovation into history-making accomplishments. After Cognac, the American Society of Civil Engineers presented Shell with the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement, the first ever awarded to an energy company. By 1982, Cognac was producing 72,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day.
Shell continued to lead the deep-water industry with more record-breaking, pioneering efforts. From Auger, the world’s first tension leg platform, to Stones, the world’s deepest offshore oil and gas project, Shell’s team in the Gulf of Mexico has consistently found ways to make the seemingly impossible, become possible.
“This remains a heartland for US energy production,” noted Tallant. “Our operations here in the Gulf of Mexico account for more than 50% of Shell’s oil and gas production in this country.”
Across four decades and around the world, deep water has become the growth priority for Shell’s Upstream business with production on track to reach more than 900,000 boe/d by 2020 from already discovered, established reservoirs. Shell designs and operates its deep-water projects to be competitive and, since 2014, has reduced its unit development costs (UDC) and unit operating costs (UOC) by about 45%.