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Moving ‘mountains’

Release date:
5 May 2021
To produce the energy the world needs, we work on a grand scale. That means transporting some pretty big kit (think the size of the Arc de Triomphe or height of the Statue of Liberty), often across great distances. Take a look at some of our mammoth projects around the world 
🕒 5 min read | 📸 Photo story

The 60,000-tonne Argos platform arrives in Texas

Argos completes its odyssey

After an epic journey during which it travelled 16,000 miles over the course of 60+ days from South Korea, Argos  ̶  the centerpiece of bp’s $9 billion Mad Dog 2 project in the US Gulf of Mexico  ̶  has docked at the Kiewit Offshore Services fabrication yard in Ingleside, Texas.


The arrival of the new floating production unit (FPU), transported onboard the Boskalis BOKA Vanguard heavy transport vessel, marks a major milestone towards the completion of Mad Dog 2. At peak, Argos is expected to produce up to 140,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) through a subsea production system from up to 14 production wells. This will boost bp’s production capacity in the region by an estimated 25%.


The Mad Dog 2 project demonstrates bp’s commitment to resilient, focused hydrocarbons – an essential component of its strategy to transform into an integrated energy company. bp aims to access and deliver new barrels at lower cost and in rapid time by focusing on the basins it knows best. 


Follow the journey in pictures.

Aerial view of Argos of it sets sail from South Korea following construction at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard

Out to sea

Coming into view as the platform approaches Corpus Christi Bay on the Texas coast

Argos is expected to support about 800 jobs during the work in Ingleside and about 250 jobs once in operation

The massive platform dwarfs onlookers at it makes it way down the La Quinta Channel

Journey’s end

Finally dockside at Kiewit Offshore Services fabrication yard, where it undergoes final preparatory work and regulatory inspections before heading off...

Watch the final stages of Argos’s epic journey

The Greater wall

Over in Senegal on the west coast of Africa, the first phase in the construction of an offshore protective wall for the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) project culminated in the careful transportation of a vast concrete structure out to sea. Here’s how it was done

The 105-foot caisson towers over workers at the Dakar fabrication yard where it was constructed

The first of 21 vast concrete caissons for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in West Africa has sailed away from Dakar Harbour to offshore Goree Island, where it will be moored before being transported to the project’s hub terminal site later this summer.


The GTA gas field, located around 120 kilometres offshore on the maritime border between Mauritania and Senegal, is forecast to play a role in generating revenue and contributing to domestic energy supply in the countries. The field, being developed by bp and partners, has an estimated capacity of 15 trillion cubic feet of gas. 


See how the mammoth task was undertaken.

The caisson is slowly moved into position on the barge

Caisson offloading

The loaded caisson ready for departure

Once in position off Goree Island, the caisson is submerged in its temporary location

Lowering into position

It will take approximately nine months to offload, transport and install all 21 caissons and lay the foundation of the breakwater

Watch the journey out to sea

About the caisson 

A caisson is a watertight retaining structure made of reinforced concrete and steel that is used to provide rigidity and stability to a marine structure. 


The 21 caissons for the GTA Phase 1 project – the deepest subsea infrastructure project in Africa – will together form a 1.2-kilometre offshore breakwater designed to shelter the nearshore hub and terminal from prevailing weather and ocean conditions. The marine infrastructure will comprise a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility and floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.


Each caisson is 54.5 metres (179 feet) long, 28 metres (92 feet) wide and 32 metres (105 feet) high. After being towed from Dakar Harbour to the operation site, the caissons will be ballasted down on a foundation of rocks and filled with dredged sand. All 21 will knit together to form the protective breakwater.

And there’s more

It’s not just our upstream operations that require enormous infrastructure. Here’s a snapshot of two projects in our renewables and refining businesses where some of the equipment is off the scale

Prairie power

In 2020, bp undertook a massive upgrade at our Flat Ridge 1 wind farm in Kansas, US. In total, 19 new Vestas turbines were fitted, which are estimated to increase our clean, renewable energy production at Flat Ridge by 20-25%. Each 2.2-megawatt turbine stands 80 metres tall and weighs 130 tons, so installing them required a huge crane, careful teamwork and a strong focus on safety from the logistics team. Here are some pictures showing the project in progress:

Blade delivery at C10 tower Flat Ridge 1 Wind Farm
Blade delivery at C10 tower Flat Ridge 1 Wind Farm
Hub and cap attachment at A8 tower Flat Ridge 1 Wind Farm
Al Vickers visits Flat Ridge 1 Wind Farm
Blade prep at A7 tower Flat Ridge 1 Wind Farm
Blade delivery at C10 tower Flat Ridge 1 Wind Farm
Blade delivery at C10 tower Flat Ridge 1 Wind Farm
Hub and cap attachment at A8 tower Flat Ridge 1 Wind Farm
Al Vickers visits Flat Ridge 1 Wind Farm
Blade prep at A7 tower Flat Ridge 1 Wind Farm

Crack team

In October 2020, a major maintenance turnaround, or TAR, started at our Gelsenkirchen refinery in Germany. During the turnaround, a new high-pressure separator for the hydrocracker (which separates feedstock into liquid and gaseous components) was installed. The film below shows the 13-metre-high, 140-ton piece of equipment being lowered into position at the Scholven plant – an extremely complex and delicate procedure requiring a skilled team.

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