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 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

Man working on a platform with full safety uniform

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 (8,000 feet).

We are also moving ahead to develop Stones, an ultra-deep-water oil and gas development that will host the deepest production facility in the world in some 2,900 metres (9,500 feet) of water.

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Natural gas

We are helping to power lives around the world with natural gas, the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon.