Save for later Print Download Share LinkedIn Twitter Shell plans to drill eight or nine operated exploration wells in the US Gulf of Mexico this year, ranging from near-field opportunities to frontier targets, an executive tells Energy Intelligence. “It’s a portfolio of everything from ... near-infrastructure opportunities to keep some of our operated hosts full, to play step-outs, to a couple of frontier tests,” Shell Senior Vice President Bill Langin told Energy Intelligence. Shell's operations in the Gulf of Mexico play a important role in its strategy of delivering low-cost and low-carbon production to drive cash flow, and exploration remains key to refilling its queue of upstream opportunities. Shell is pursuing an active drilling program in the Perdido area in Alaminos Canyon, where it struck oil at both its Blacktip and Blacktip North prospects in recent years. “Between the two of them, we’re nearing enough commercial volume to make an infrastructure decision, probably before the end of this year,” said Langin. Planned work in the area this year includes a sidetrack to Blacktip North to further evaluate the extent of the discovery, as well as an appraisal of the 2020 Leopard discovery.