BP reaches company record of 9 Gulf rigs
HOUSTON — BP said Tuesday it has added two drilling rigs to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, bringing its fleet to a company record nine rigs as it continues to develop its portfolio of assets in the key U.S. offshore basin, a news release from BP stated.
One of the rigs is a new ultra-deepwater drillship known as the West Auriga that is under long-term contract to BP from Seadrill Ltd., a leading international offshore drilling contractor. The vessel, capable of operating in up to 12,000 feet of water, has begun development drilling work at BP’s Thunder Horse field.
The other is a reconstructed drilling rig on BP’s Mad Dog oil and gas production platform. It replaces the original rig on the platform that was badly damaged and left inoperable by Hurricane Ike in 2008. With the new, state-of-the-art rig, the platform recently resumed development drilling at the massive Mad Dog field complex.
“The addition of these two rigs reflects the vital importance of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to the future of BP,” said Richard Morrison, Regional President of BP’s Gulf of Mexico business. “It also clearly demonstrates BP’s commitment to the American economy and to U.S. energy security.”
BP anticipates investing on average at least $4 billion in the Gulf of Mexico each year for the next decade, the news release stated. The company plans to concentrate future activity and investment in the Gulf on growth opportunities around its four major operated production hubs — Thunder Horse, Na Kika, Atlantis and Mad Dog — and three non-operated production hubs — Mars, Ursa and Great White — in the deepwater, as well as on significant exploration and appraisal opportunities in the Paleogene and elsewhere, the news release stated.
BP’s news release stated it is advancing a pipeline of future development projects in the deepwater Gulf. In April, the company started up the Atlantis North expansion, the first of seven additional wells to be tied back to the existing Atlantis platform. At Na Kika, another field expansion is planned, following the successful startup last year of the Galapagos development, a subsea tieback to the Na Kika production facility. BP is also pursuing plans for a second phase of the Mad Dog field.