Shell Signs Letter of Intent for Floating Production Unit in U.S. Gulf of Mexico

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Shell Offshore, a subsidiary of Shell, has entered into a letter of intent (LOI) with Seatrium Oil and Gas International, a subsidiary of Seatrium Limited, for the construction of a floating production unit (FPU) to be deployed at the Sparta project, previously known as North Platte, in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Project Details:

  • The Sparta project is a deepwater development located approximately 170 miles off the coast of Louisiana.
  • The FPU will utilize Seatrium’s topsides single lift integration methodology and will consist of a single topside module supported by a four-column semi-submersible floating hull.
  • The project aims to leverage the success of previous collaborations between Seatrium and Shell on projects like Vito and Whale.


  • The Sparta field was discovered in 2012 by Cobalt International Energy, with TotalEnergies holding a 40% interest. Equinor later joined the project by acquiring Cobalt’s interest, and TotalEnergies became the operator with a 60% interest.
  • TotalEnergies initiated front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the North Platte project, but it withdrew from the project in 2022, releasing its equity to Equinor.
  • Shell acquired a 51% interest in the project from Equinor and is progressing it toward a final investment decision, expected later in 2023.
  • The Sparta project spans four blocks in the Garden Banks area, approximately 275 kilometers off the coast of Louisiana, in water depths of around 1,300 meters (4,265 feet).

This collaboration between Shell and Seatrium marks another step in the development of the Sparta project, which aims to tap into the deepwater reserves of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.


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