Shell has developed its major Cardamom oil and gas field in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The Cardamom project is expected to produce 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) a day at peak production.

Key facts

  • Location: Gulf of Mexico, USA
  • Water depth: 830 metres (2,720 feet)
  • Interests: 100% Shell
  • Fields: Cardamom
  • Design Production: 50,000 boe/d

Project Development

On September 8, 2014, Shell announced first oil from the Cardamom development. This new subsea system is tied back to the Auger platform. The development includes five new wells and is expected to produce 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day at its peak rate. Since the first production at Auger in 1994, the facility has received several upgrades to process additional production from new discoveries and Cardamom is Auger’s seventh subsea development.

In February 2011 the Cardamom Exploration Plan was the first blue-water well to be approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement after the moratorium was lifted. Shell announced its final investment decision to develop the Cardamom field on June 9, 2011.

Previously, in March 2010, the Auger 16ST3 well had been drilled to 9,449 metres (31,000 feet) measured depth into the Cardamom deep formation and logged 220 net feet of oil-bearing Miocene-aged sands. Auger 16ST4 was completed up dip of the ST3 and brought onto production on December 31, 2010.


Cardamom uses advanced seismic technology that enables deep-water exploration around the existing Auger structure. The Cardamom reservoir sits beneath think layers of salt in rock more than 6 kilometres below the sea floor and went undetected by conventional seismic surveys. Shell used the latest advancements in seismic technology to discover Cardamom in 2010.

The Cardamom field is approximately 360 kilometres southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana, in water more than 800 metres deep.

Environment and Society

Production from Cardamom flows through the Auger platform, limiting the development’s offshore footprint by using existing infrastructure. The project has provided more jobs for offshore workers.

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