On 28 July 2016, Shell announced that it had made a hydrocarbon discovery with the Fort Sumter discovery well (G08831 1), situated in the 23 km2 Mississippi Canyon Block MC 566 in the Gulf of Mexico Basin, approximately 117 km south-east of New Orleans. The well, which was spudded on 13 September 2015, was drilled in a water depth of 2,152m to a TVD of 8,539m. An appraisal sidetrack well was subsequently drilled, reaching TD of 8,900m on 1 February 2016. The initial recoverable resources for the Fort Sumter discovery well have been estimated at over 125 MMboe. Shell believes that its proximity to highly prospective acreage to the south-east makes Fort Sumter particularly significant.
The Fort Sumter discovery lies in an offshore extension of the prolific onshore Northlet Jurassic play, which is characterised by high pressures and well temperatures, and where good quality oil is found in high quality Jurassic sandstone reservoirs. Other recent offshore Norphlet exploration successes for Shell include the Appomattox (2010) and Vicksburg (2013) discoveries, which lie about 25 km to the north-east, and the 2014 Rydberg find, 15 km to the east-north-east. It brings the total resources added by exploration in the Gulf of Mexico for Shell since 2010 to around 1.3 Bboe. These discoveries are expected to be produced through Shell’s Appomattox project, which is currently under construction. The project is comprised of a semi-submersible, four-column production host platform. Its subsea system will feature six drill centres as well as 15 producing wells and five water injection wells.
Shell is the operator and sole interest-holder in the lower portion of MC 566. BP is the operator of the upper portion, with Shell holding 100% of the equity.