* MMS sees Shell's Perdido project starting by February
* Perdido can produce up to 100,000 bpd crude oil
* Shell says sees Perdido starting in "early 2010" (Adds comment from Shell, paragraph 5)
By Robert Campbell
HOUSTON, Jan 27 Royal Dutch Shell Plc's (RDSa.L) Perdido oil and gas project in the Gulf of Mexico will start up soon, perhaps as early as the end of January, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said on Wednesday.
The government agency, which oversees oil and gas production in U.S. federal waters, did not say how much it expected the project to produce initially. The Perdido platform is capable of producing 100,000 barrels per day of oil and 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas.
"It's planned to go into production most likely by the end of the month, by February," Mike Prendergast, the chief of staff of the MMS's Gulf of Mexico region, said at an industry conference.
Shell is operator of the Perdido project with a 35 percent interest, partnered by Chevron (CVX.N) with 37.5 percent and BP Plc (BP.L) with 27.5 percent.
"We have previously said the project will start in early 2010," said Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh. She declined to provide a more precise startup date.
Perdido is designed to gather oil and gas from several deepwater fields near the U.S. border with Mexico.
The MMS also said it expected the Petrobras-operated Cascade project, which is rated at 80,000 bpd, to begin production in the second half of 2010.
Petrobras (PETR4.SA) said on Tuesday it would exercise its right of first refusal to buy Devon Energy Corp's (DVN.N) stake in the Cascade field.
The Cascade production facility, which will be the first floating production, storage and offloading vessel deployed in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, will also produce oil and gas from the nearby Chinook field.
Petrobras, the operator of Chinook, is partnered by Total SA (TOTF.PA), which holds a one-third stake in the field. (Editing by Walter Bagley)