In this month’s issue of E&P, we look at mature assets and the technologies being used to keep both field and infrastructure operational. From the rubble of North Sea decommissioning stories came the tale of the Gannet Field. The first of seven fields was discovered in 1969 and shut in about four years ago. Shell recently invested significant resources to bring the Gannet platform and its wells back to life (Read this month's cover story). Doing more with what is there is made possible with new technologies, like hydraulic workover units, modeling and enhanced electric submersible pumps, which are the focus of the featured cover stories.

Doing more with what is there in a smarter way has become a mantra of sorts in the offshore these days. Although it has not been a pretty three years for the offshore Gulf of Mexico (GoM), there are a few bright spots in 2018 that show operators demonstrating their faith in the region. For example, Hess brought the Stampede Field online in early 2018, Chevron completed installation of its beleaguered tension-leg platform (TLP) at Big Foot in April and LLOG Exploration announced production startup at its Crown & Anchor development in early June. And then there are the hard-to-miss, yellow-legged triplets of Shell’s in the GoM’s Mars-Ursa Basin. That particular Mississippi Canyon neighborhood located some 210 km (130 miles) south of the Louisiana coast is home to the TLP trio of Mars, Ursa and Olympus—starting up in 1996, 1999 and 2014, respectively.

It is a prolific producing area for Shell. The company announced in late May the production startup of Phase 1 of its Kaikias subsea development. The project came in about one year ahead of schedule, according to a press release.

Estimated to contain more than 100 MMboe recoverable resources, Shell and Mitsui Oil Exploration made the final investment decision (FID) in February 2017 to execute the first of two planned phases. Plans for the field discovered in 2014 are more ursine in nature in that oil and gas are flowing from four wells through a subsea tieback to the Ursa production hub, according to a press release.

Initially hailed at the time of the FID as an attractive near-field opportunity with a competitive breakeven price below $40/bbl, that number was lowered to “a forward- looking, breakeven price of less than $30/bbl,” according to the press release.

“We believe Kaikias is the most competitive subsea development in the Gulf of Mexico and a prime example of the deepwater opportunities we’re able to advance with our technical expertise and capital discipline,” said Andy Brown, upstream director with Royal Dutch Shell, in the press release. “In addition to accelerating production for Kaikias, we reduced costs with a simplified well design and the incorporation of existing subsea and processing equipment.”

Perhaps the old adage about fine wine getting finer as it ages applies to oil and gas, too. With successes at Gannet and the continued use of its maturing Ursa asset, Shell is proving the truth of that adage.