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Shell's Kaikias Considered Powerhouse Discovery in Deepwater GOM

A deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) discovery in the Mars-Ursa Basin is estimated to hold more than 100 million boe of recoverable resources, Royal Dutch Shell plc confirmed on Thursday.

The Kaikias discovery, 100% owned by Shell, was drilled last year (see Daily GPISept., 8, 2014). In August, appraisal drilling on the well, about 60 miles south of Louisiana, revealed more than 300 feet of net pay. Full evaluation of the well results continues, a Shell spokeswoman told NGI.

Kaikias is the longest well ever drilled by Shell at 34,500 feet measured depth in 4,575 feet of water. What sets Kaikias apart, besides breaking records, is its location.

The Mars-Ursa Basin, considered the GOM heartland, is one of Shell's most prolific offshore areas. The operator now owns and operates three infrastructure hosts in the basin: Mars, Mars B and Ursa. Combined output is about 500,000 boe/d. Kaikias, considered part of Shell's "heartlands exploration program," wouldn't compete with Mars or Ursa hosts, but the field could extend and expand them.

"Near field infrastructure to the Kaikias well presents opportunities for cost efficiencies -- potentially reducing the overall development cost," management said. "Managing costs and ensuring project competitiveness continues to be a focus for Shell."

Shell completed drilling and appraising Kaikias ahead of schedule and under budget, which allowed it to achieve more than 20% in cost savings. Shell also participated in a successful appraisal of the Powernap discovery in the GOM, a lease in which it has a half-stake.

"We see this as worth $10-20/boe, or $1-2 billion to Shell, given it owns 100%," said Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. analysts. Kaikias resources are "in an area where there are a number of platforms that it can tie back production to Mars, Mars B or Ursa, making it a very high-value find.

"Early engineering is taking place and we would expect that a final investment decision could be taken in 2016, given that Shell plans to award some long-lead items next year. We would expect low development capital expenditures, as it will likely only entail drilling and completion and tie-in cost for the wells."

Kaikias is named for the Greek god of the northeast wind. In Roman mythology, Mars is the god of war. The constellations Ursa Minor and Ursa Major are related to the Greek myth of Callisto and her son Arcas, who were placed in the sky by Zeus.

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