Williams has acquired and placed into service the 16-inch diameter Norphlet deepwater natural gas gathering pipeline system in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), extending the reach of the Tulsa-based operator’s massive Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) system.

The acquisition extends the reach of the Williams pipeline network by connecting its existing Transco offshore pipeline lateral to the prolific Jurassic play in the eastern GOM that was developed by operator Shell Offshore Inc. and CNOOC Petroleum Offshore U.S.A. Inc.

“We are excited to participate in this Jurassic development with Shell and CNOOC,” said Williams CEO Alan Armstrong. “Shell has exhibited a tremendous history of successful large-scale developments across the Gulf of Mexico and early indications here are for that to continue in this Jurassic play with their additional discoveries.”

Last year, Shell struck its sixth discovery in the Norphlet play after encountering more than 800 net feet of pay at the Dover discovery, which is about 13 miles from the producer’s Appomattox floating production system (FPS). The Appomattox host ramped up earlier this year months ahead of schedule.

Appomattox, with an expected production of 175,000 boe/d, was the first commercial discovery brought into production by Shell in the Norphlet formation,

The Norphlet pipeline, constructed by Shell and CNOOC, extends 54 miles from the Appomattox FPS in 7,400-feet of water to Transco’s Main Pass (MP) 261A junction platform, about 60 miles south of Mobile, AL.

Williams, which said the first gas delivery was in June, noted the Norphlet system is capable of gathering an estimated 261-291 MMcf/d. It connects to more than 33,000 acres of dedicated leases, to Williams’ Mobile Bay processing facility via the Transco lateral at the MP 261A junction platform.

The completed project also included installing a spare subsea connector for additional floating production system volumes, as well as modifications to the Mobile Bay processing facility, including a 118% expansion to the slug handling capacity and a 329% increase in stabilizing capacity.

About one-half of Norphlet’s contractual capacity remains available for future producer discoveries in the area, Williams noted.