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Round up: Major multi-billion oil & gas projects greenlighted in 2023

Home Fossil Energy Round up: Major multi-billion oil & gas projects greenlighted in 2023

January 2, 2024,
by

Melisa Cavcic

With energy security running the show, multiple new oil and gas projects were sanctioned throughout 2023. Among the top eight are the ones operated by TotalEnergies, Shell, ExxonMobil, Equinor, Woodside, OMV Petrom, and ADNOC.

Dover is a planned subsea tie-back to Appomattox, a Shell-operated production hub in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico; Source: Shell

The year, which is now behind us, kicked off with an announcement from TotalEnergies and its partners, Shell and Repsol Sinopec Brasil, which approved a final investment decision (FID) for the Lapa South-West oil development project located in the Santos Basin, 300 km off the coast of Brazil on January 16, 2023. This project will be tied back to the FPSO Cidade de Caraguatatuba MV27 and represents an investment of approximately $1 billion. The start-up is targeted in 2025.

In March 2023, Shell made a final investment decision for the Dover deepwater project within Mississippi Canyon, approximately 170 miles offshore southeast of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM). This project will be developed as a subsea tie-back to the oil major’s operated Appomattox production hub. The production is anticipated to begin in late 2024 or early 2025.

The following month, ExxonMobil sanctioned its fifth oil development project, Uaru, in the Stabroek block offshore Guyana. This project will have a production capacity of approximately 250,000 gross barrels of oil per day with production targeted to begin in 2026. 

The $12.7 billion Uaru development targets an estimated resource base of more than 800 million barrels of oil and includes up to 10 drill centers and 44 production and injection wells. Japan’s MODEC secured a FEED contract for Uaru FPSO, which will be called Errea Wittu, and is constructing it under an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract.

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When May 2023 rolled in, Equinor made a final investment decision (FID) for the BM-C-33  oil and gas project offshore Brazil. This development is expected to be the country’s first project to treat the gas offshore and be connected to the national grid without further onshore processing. The project comprises three different pre-salt discoveries – Pão de AçúcarGávea, and Seat – containing natural gas and oil/condensate recoverable reserves above one billion barrels of oil equivalent. The start-up of the project is planned for 2028.

Woodside Energy took a FID on the Trion deepwater oil project in the Perdido basin in the Gulf of Mexico located 30 km south of the Mexico-U.S. maritime border in June 2023. The first oil is targeted for 2028. The forecasted total capital expenditure is $7.2 billion. This resource will be developed through a floating production unit (FPU) with an oil production capacity of 100,000 barrels per day. The FPU will be connected to a floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel with a capacity of 950,000 barrels of oil.

That same month, OMV Petrom and Romgaz made a final investment decision for the Neptun Deep deepwater natural gas project in the Black Sea. This $4.4 billion project is considered to be not only Romania’s first deepwater project but also the largest natural gas project in the Romanian area of the Black Sea. The first gas is expected in 2027 and the production at the plateau will be approximately 8 bcm annually (about 140,000 boe/d) for almost ten years.

In September 2023, one of the largest undeveloped oil fields in the UK got the stamp of approval from the North Sea Transition Authority. As a result, Equinor and Ithaca confirmed the final investment decision for the development of the controversial Rosebank field on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

Located about 130 kilometers off the coast of the Shetland Islands in the UK, this field is estimated to contain 300 million bbl of potentially recoverable reserves. The first phase of the project is targeting an estimated 245 million barrels of oil and the field will be developed with subsea wells tied back to a redeployed FPSO vessel, with first production expected in 2026-2027. 

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Last but not least, ADNOC Group made a final investment decision and awarded a batch of contracts for the Hail and Ghasha offshore gas development, which aims to operate with net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, reinforcing the UAE player’s accelerated decarbonization agenda and supporting its net-zero by 2045 ambition and aspirations to double its carbon capture capacity target to 10 mtpa of CO2 by 2030.

This project is part of the Ghasha Concession, which is the world’s largest offshore sour gas development and a key component of ADNOC’s integrated gas masterplan as well as an important enabler of gas self-sufficiency for the United Arab Emirates. The Ghasha Concession is set to produce more than 1.5 billion standard cubic feet per day (bscfd) of gas before the end of the decade.

The Hail and Ghasha development design combines decarbonization technologies into one integrated solution, aiming to capture 1.5 million tonnes per year of CO2 taking ADNOC’s committed investment for carbon capture capacity to almost 4 mtpa.

The CO2 will be captured, transported onshore, and safely stored underground, while low-carbon hydrogen is being produced, so that, it can replace gas and further reduce emissions. In addition, the project will leverage clean power from nuclear and renewable sources from the grid.

As a cherry on top, December 2023 brought the final investment decision for Shell’s Sparta project in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The development plan encompasses eight production wells tied back to a semi-submersible FPU.

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With an estimated, discovered recoverable resource volume of 244 million boe and a designed capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day at peak, Sparta is anticipated to start production in 2028.

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