Back to work in the Gulf of Mexico

We have a multi-billion dollar investment programme under way in the Gulf of Mexico, focusing on deepwater oil and gas development
Drillers working together on the rig floor on Seadrill's West Sirius drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Drillers on a rig floor in the Gulf of Mexico

BP directly employs more than 2,300 people in the Gulf of Mexico and we support tens of thousands of additional jobs in the region. At the end of 2013 we operated 10 drilling rigs in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and plan to concentrate future activity and investment in the Gulf on growth opportunities in:

  • Our major operated production hubs - Thunder Horse, Na Kika, Atlantis and Mad Dog.
  • Our non-operated production hubs - Mars, Ursa and Great White. 
  • Significant exploration and appraisal opportunities in the Paleogene and elsewhere. In late 2013, we announced the Gila discovery in the Keathley Canyon area, which is the third significant discovery BP has made in the Paleogene play in recent years.

Safety and response capabilities

BP’s internal investigation into the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident (the Bly Report) led to 26 recommendations for reducing risk in BP's drilling operations. We have made significant progress in implementing these recommendations, including in our Gulf of Mexico operations.

Following our agreement with the US government in November 2012 to resolve all federal criminal claims, we have agreed to take additional actions designed to further enhance the safety of drilling operations in the Gulf.

Line management has ultimate responsibility for managing operational risk. To support and strengthen the efforts of line management, we have a team dedicated to safety and operational risk activities in our Gulf of Mexico business. These staff members are accountable to the head of BP’s safety and operational risk function, who reports directly to the group chief executive.

BP joined the Marine Well Containment Company and in 2011 transferred equipment and expertise developed during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response to this group to help industry meet regulatory requirements for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. We are advancing our capability to respond to potential incidents and are working with our industry to further enhance access to equipment and technologies around the world. BP’s global deepwater well-capping and tooling package is stored in Houston and can be deployed in a matter of days to anywhere we operate in the world in the event of a deepwater well blowout.

Enhanced monitoring of drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico

We have a facility in Houston that displays live well information about our operated rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Operating 24/7, experts at the facility provide an additional level of assurance to their colleagues located at each offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Working with others

We continue to participate in collaborative industry efforts and to share what we have learned to advance global deepwater capabilities and practices. Since 2010, we have conducted more than 200 briefings in 30 countries to share lessons learned.

Agreement with EPA

Following the Deepwater Horizon incident, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suspended or debarred various BP companies from entering into new contracts with the US government or renewing existing ones.

BP entered into an agreement with the EPA in March 2014, resolving all debarment and suspension matters. Under this agreement, which will apply for five years, BP has agreed to a set of safety and operations, ethics and compliance and corporate governance requirements, including those contained in the 2012 criminal plea agreement and settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The agreement means that BP is once again eligible to enter into new contracts with the US government, including deepwater drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.


The information on this page forms part of the information reviewed and reported on by Ernst & Young as part of BP's 2013 sustainability reporting. View the full assurance statement.