Video: Shell’s Tension Leg Platform ‘Auger’, A Deepwater Pioneer

Aerial view of the Auger Tension Leg Platform in the deep-water US Gulf of Mexico in foreground. Noble Jim Thompson drilling rig in background. Photo (c) Royal Dutch Shell via Flickr
Aerial view of the Auger Tension Leg Platform in the deep-water US Gulf of Mexico in foreground. Noble Jim Thompson drilling rig in background. Photo (c) Royal Dutch Shell via Flickr

In 1994, ‘Auger’ became Royal Dutch Shell’s first tension-leg platform operating in the deep-water of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

When production from its fields started to slow, the Auger TLP faced an almost certain decommissioning, but in 2010 its fate took a dramatic turn.

Possible only through technological advances in seismic imaging and drilling, Shell engineers discovered a whole untapped field – called Cardamom – hidden behind a vast salt deposit, 4 miles (6.4 km) below the sea floor.

Now, exactly 20 years after Auger first began producing oil and a series of upgrades, the Auger platform is once again at work at the Cardamom field. The Cardamom project is expected to produce 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) a day at peak production and more than 140 million boe over its lifetime, which will make Auger the Shell’s largest net producing platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is the story of the legendary platform and the oil field that’s reinventing it:

Bonus Video: Behind the scenes aboard Auger