Oil production has started at the Julia oil field in the Gulf of Mexico, ExxonMobil said on Tuesday.
The first production well is now online and a second well will start production in the coming weeks, the company said.
The Julia development is located approximately 265 miles southwest of New Orleans in water depths of more than 7,000 feet. The initial development phase uses subsea tie-backs to the Chevron-operated Jack/St. Malo production facility, reducing the need for additional infrastructure and enhancing capital efficiency.
“Successful deepwater developments like Julia, located more than 30,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, benefit from ExxonMobil’s disciplined project execution capabilities and commitment to developing quality resources using advanced technology,” said Neil W. Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Development Company.
The Maersk Viking drillship is currently drilling a third well, which is expected to come online in early 2017. Production results will assist in the evaluation of additional wells included in the initial development phase, which has a design capacity of 34,000 barrels per day of oil, the oil company explained.
“This initial production will provide ExxonMobil with insight into the potential future development of the reservoir,” said Duffin.
Discovered in 2007, the Julia field comprises five leases in the ultra-deepwater Walker Ridge area of the Gulf of Mexico. ExxonMobil, the operator, and Statoil Gulf of Mexico LLC each hold a 50 percent interest in the Julia unit. Over the past decade, ExxonMobil has drilled 187 deepwater wells worldwide in water ranging from 2,100 feet to 8,700 feet.
ExxonMobil stated it was on track to start up 10 new upstream projects in 2016 and 2017, adding 450,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day of working-interest production capacity.
According to a report by Reuters, ExxonMobil recently shipped what was believed to be the first U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude oil to be exported since the 40 years long oil ban on U.S. crude exports was lifted in December 2015. The news agency said that the crude came from initial well tests conducted on the Julia project.
Data on Marine Traffic shows that the Panamax tanker, the PGC Marina, carrying the crude from the Gulf of Mexico to Exxon’s Rotterdam refinery has arrived to Rotterdam.