BP fires up Thunder Horse South Expansion project

Oil giant BP has started up the Thunder Horse South Expansion project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, 11 months ahead of schedule and $150 million under budget.  

The company stated on Monday the project is expected to boost production at the facility by an estimated 50,000 gross barrels of oil equivalent per day, further increasing output at one of the largest oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Thunder Horse South Expansion – along with our recent approval of the $9 billion Mad Dog Phase 2 platform — demonstrates that the U.S. Gulf of Mexico remains a key part of our global portfolio today and for many years to come,” said BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley.

“This project also marks the first of several major upstream start-ups expected before the end of this year and a major step toward our goal of adding 800,000 barrels of new production by 2020,” he said.

The Thunder Horse South Expansion project adds a new subsea production system roughly two miles to the south of the existing Thunder Horse platform. The system is a collection point for wells connected to the Thunder Horse platform by two 11,000-foot flowlines installed on the seabed in late 2016.

According to the company, the project was completed more than 15 percent below budget by relying on standardized equipment and technology rather than building customized components.

The first new well for the project tapped into the highest amount of hydrocarbon bearing sand seen to date at the Thunder Horse field, with drilling results confirming more than 500 feet of net pay. The well was planned for 2017 but brought online on December 8, 2016. In the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, BP last year started up a major water-injection project at Thunder Horse and approved the $9 billion Mad Dog Phase 2 project, expected to come online in late 2021.

Richard Morrison, regional president of BP’s Gulf of Mexico business, said: “The Thunder Horse South Expansion project, brought online ahead of schedule and under budget, proves that deepwater can be done in a cost-effective way, while keeping a relentless focus on safety. It also shows the effectiveness of our strategy in the Gulf, which is all about increasing production from within our existing asset base and large portfolio of undeveloped resources.”

Developed with partner ExxonMobil, the Thunder Horse platform sits in more than 6,000 feet of water and began production in June 2008. It has the capacity to handle 250,000 gross barrels of oil and 200 million gross cubic feet per day of natural gas. The facility continued to operate during construction and installation of the new subsea production and pipeline system.

In the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, BP operates four large production platforms — Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika, and holds interests in four non-operated hubs — Mars, Olympus, Ursa and Great White.

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