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BP Thunder Horse South Expansion starts up ahead of schedule and under budget

Release date:
January 23, 2017
Deepwater Gulf of Mexico start-up expected to add 50,000 barrels of production, marking latest major investment in U.S. offshore region

HOUSTON - BP today announced that it 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 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. “These new projects, coupled with a series of recent agreements we’ve reached around the world, reflect the growing momentum across BP and clear progress in building a strong foundation for the future.”


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.


The project was completed more than 15 percent below budget by relying on proven 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. Planned for 2017, but brought online on December 8, 2016, the project demonstrates continued momentum for BP in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico where last year it 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.

Thunder Horse expansion infographic
Thunder Horse expansion infographic
Thunder Horse expansion infographic
Thunder Horse expansion infographic
Thunder Horse expansion infographic
Thunder Horse expansion infographic
Thunder Horse expansion infographic
Thunder Horse expansion infographic

About BP

Over the past 10 years, BP has invested more than $90 billion in the U.S. – more than any other energy company. BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and produces enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing about 14,000 people across the country, BP supports more than 130,000 additional jobs through all of its business activities.


Notes to editors

  • BP is the largest investor in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico over the past 10 years. 
  • BP is one of the largest leaseholders in the Gulf with acreage in about 400 lease blocks. 
  • Thunder Horse is operated by BP with a 75% working interest. ExxonMobil is a partner with a 25% working interest. 
  • During 2016 BP successfully launched a major water injection project in its Thunder Horse field that will allow for the recovery of an additional 65 million barrels of oil equivalent.
  • Field production began in 2008 from the Thunder Horse field. 
  • The Thunder Horse Field was discovered in 1999 and is one of BP’s largest discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico to date.
  • Between 2013 and 2016, BP’s average daily production in U.S. Gulf of Mexico increased from 189,000 net barrels of oil equivalent to 264,000 net barrels.


Further information

BP Press Office, Houston

Phone: +1 281 366 4463

Email: uspress@bp.com


Cautionary statement


In order to utilize the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the ‘PSLRA’), BP is providing the following cautionary statement. This press release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning BP’s Thunder Horse production platform and field, including expected production levels and production life and BP’s plans for future projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Actual results may differ from those expressed in such statements. 
This press release contains references to non-proved resources and production outlooks based on non-proved resources that the SEC's rules prohibit us from including in our filings with the SEC. U.S. investors are urged to consider closely the disclosures in our Form 20-F, SEC File No. 001-06262. This form is available on our website at www.bp.com. You can also obtain this form from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330 or by logging on to their website at www.sec.gov.