Shell has a long history of successfully developing deep-water energy projects worldwide. We use our knowledge, experience and proven deep-water technologies to unlock new resources safely and efficiently. We work to limit the impact of our operations on the environment and share the benefits with neighbouring communities.

Beneath the world’s oceans – in waters ranging from a few hundred to several thousand metres deep – lie vast supplies of oil and natural gas which have the potential to boost economic growth and play a vital role in the future energy mix.

Freezing temperatures, immense water pressure and pitch darkness all make producing oil and gas from deep water a major technical challenge. We have pushed the boundaries of what is possible and safely achievable to unlock these resources the world needs.

Shell has decades of experience in developing and operating deep-water projects, with more than 20 major projects active today, and significant new projects under development. Our deep-water activities extend from the Gulf of Mexico to the South China Sea, from the Norwegian continental shelf to the waters off Nigeria’s coast.

Read how we master deep-water challenges

Local benefits

We work with people living closest to our operations and benefit communities onshore. Our projects award contracts to local suppliers and stimulate the growth of support industries, such as boats and materials. In Brazil and Nigeria, for example, we helped create the first generation of national oil and gas engineers. In Malaysia we support a training scheme, together with local authorities, to qualify much-needed welders for the oil and gas industry.

Read more about local communities near to our deep-water operations

View of the malikai tension leg platform from ground level

Safety first

At all of our operations, including those far below the ocean’s surface, safety is always our top priority. All of Shell’s deep-water wells must meet rigorous design and construction standards. They are drilled and completed by engineers who receive several years’ training. We use advanced sensors to monitor deep-water wells in real time during operations. This allows engineers based in onshore operations centres to identify any potential risks and respond immediately.

Read more about safety in deep water

Our deep-water projects

Our major deep-water projects include Perdido in the Gulf of Mexico, which set a water depth record for an offshore oil drilling and production platform at 2,450 metres.

Closer to home, we started oil production from Gumusut-Kakap deep-water platform offshore Sabah in October 2014. Located in waters up to 1,200 metres deep, the field is our first deep-water development in Malaysia.

Assembling the vast structure, whose four decks total nearly 40,000 square metres, involved the world’s heaviest onshore lift. The project uses Shell Smart Fields® technology to carefully control production from the undersea wells to achieve greater efficiency.

Read more about Gumusut-Kakap

We are currently developing Malikai, an oil field that lies 100km offshore Sabah, at water depts of 500 metres. Shell’s second deep-water project in Malaysia, Malikai is expected to have a production capacity of 60,000 barrels per day. The field will utlise a “tension-leg” platform (TLP), which will pipe oil to the shallow-water Kebabangan platform 50km away for processing.

Read more about Malikai

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