Shell Joins Equinor in GOM Sparta Development

The former North Platte discovery gets new owner, new name


Shell has agreed to purchase 51% of Equinor’s interest in the North Platte deepwater development project in the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Equinor will retain 49% interest in the project, and Shell will become the new operator of the field. The new partners also have agreed to rename North Platte to Sparta.

Sparta straddles four blocks of the Garden Banks area, 275 km off the coast of Louisiana in approximately 1300 m of water depth. Front‑end engineering and design has been matured for the project. Equinor and Shell will review the work that has been completed and update the development plan.

Shell said that Sparta aligns with its strategy to pursue upstream investments that can remain competitive over time, both from a financial and environmental-intensity perspective.

North Platte was discovered by Cobalt Energy and Total in 2012. The partners said the Wilcox‑aged discovery would require 20K-psi technology to develop. Cobalt went bankrupt in 2017 and its stake in the asset was sold to Equinor and Total. In early 2022, TotalEnergies walked away from the project and its operatorship to focus on other projects, leaving Equinor with 100% interest.