Nearly three decades after BP began exploring the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, the company remains one of the region’s leading oil and gas producers, with lease blocks covering an area about the size of Delaware. In fact, BP has been the largest energy investor in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico over the past decade.
Between 2014 and 2017, its average daily production in the region increased from 252,000 barrels of oil equivalent to more than 300,000. This reflects BP’s continued investment at its four massive Gulf of Mexico production platforms: Atlantis, Na Kika, Thunder Horse and Mad Dog. Elsewhere in the gulf, the company holds interests in four hubs that other companies operate: Mars, Olympus, Ursa and Great White.
In a significant move, BP approved the Mad Dog Phase 2 project for development in late 2016, and the project coowners sanctioned it in early 2017. The $9 billion project is expected to start up in late 2021 and produce up to 140,000 barrels of crude oil per day from as many as 14 production wells.
In another important development, BP successfully completed its Thunder Horse South Expansion project 11 months ahead of schedule and $150 million under budget. The project added a new subsea production system roughly two miles south of the existing Thunder Horse platform.
The new system is a collection point for wells that are connected to the Thunder Horse platform by two11,000-foot flowlines installed on the seabed in late 2016.
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.
Meanwhile, recent advances in BP’s proprietary seismic imaging technology have identified additional resources around the company’s Gulf of Mexico hubs that could yield an additional 1 billion barrels of oil in place. In effect, BP’s seismic imaging breakthroughs have allowed it to find new oil fields within existing oil fields.
“The Gulf of Mexico is central to BP’s upstream portfolio, and we’ve proven that deepwater projects can be economical even in a low oil price environment,” says Richard Morrison, regional president of BP’s Gulf of Mexico business. “By executing projects through existing infrastructure at our major hubs, we are leveraging our portfolio of highvalue, longer-life assets and strategic partnerships across deepwater to provide BP with operational momentum for years to come.”
To support its Gulf of Mexico business, BP maintains a logistics base in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, along with a heliport in Houma. In any given month, about 2,500 people pass through the Houma heliport on their way to BP facilities.
Once well operations begin, offshore teams receive 24/7 support — including constant communication and real-time data analysis — from the company’s Global Monitoring Center, to help ensure safe and reliable operations.