Expected to come on stream in late 2021, the deepwater development will help to extend the life of the supergiant field beyond 2050. Until now, it has been known simply as ‘Mad Dog 2’.
In keeping with the canine-theme of the wider field, eligible voters in BP’s Gulf of Mexico and Canada business unit opted for Argos, in a slim victory over two other suggestions on the ballot paper – K9 and Salty Dog.
Named after Odysseus’ dog from Homer’s ancient Greek epic poem Odyssey, Argos is the faithful animal renowned for its speed and strength.
While the naming deliberations provided an opportunity for the BP team to get creative and have a say in Gulf of Mexico history, the new floating production unit required a different label from its nearest platform neighbour, which BP also operates.
The project team also selected a new emblem to identify the facility. The red dog continues the previous theme, providing continuity with the existing Mad Dog spar emblem, while the Greek-style lettering and helmet reflects the name’s origins.
Argos will be moored just six nautical miles to the southwest of the existing Mad Dog spar, which started production in 2005 and pumped its 200 millionth barrel of oil this summer.
The new name therefore provides clarity and a redundant safety measure, to avoid confusion in the event of an emergency or evacuation on either platform.
“Selecting Argos as the name of our newest platform is an important milestone for the Mad Dog 2 project, which remains on track and on budget,” says Starlee Sykes, BP’s regional president for the Gulf of Mexico and Canada. This project is key to delivering high-margin production from one of the largest fields in the Gulf of Mexico and it will strengthen our position in the basin for years to come."
Construction of the Argos semi-submersible’s hull and topsides began in March this year in South Korea, under contract with Samsung Heavy Industries.
Project activity is around 40 percent complete, according to project general manager, Bill Steel, and the team is now drilling the ninth of up to 22 subsea wells.
Discovered in 1998, continued appraisal drilling of the Mad Dog field in the last decade revealed more oil present than originally thought. In fact, the resource estimate doubled to more than 5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, requiring another operating facility in addition to the original platform.
An initial plan to develop the second phase – under the name ‘Big Dog’ – was scrapped five years ago when it became too costly. When the team came up with a new plan – at less than half the cost – the development received the green light in 2016.
In the early days, the Mad Dog prospect had multiple co-owners and names. It was known as Dylan (after Bob Dylan) in BP and Copernicus in Amoco (prior to its merger with BP). In the end, Mad Dog - chosen by another of the co-owners - stuck. And that canine instinct continues today.