BP has started production from the third and fourth wells at the Thunder Horse oil production field in the Gulf of Mexico, with production now in excess of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, marking commencement of full operation
The Thunder Horse platform taps an oil and gas reservoir that lies some 3 miles beneath mud, rock and salt, topped by a mile of ocean.
. BP plans to start-up additional production from the Thunder Horse North field in the first half of 2009.
The Thunder Horse platform is located about 150 miles southeast of New Orleans at a water depth of 6,050 feet, and is the largest semi-submersible facility in the world. It is designed to process and export up to 250,000 barrels of oil and 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.
Production is from reservoirs between 14,000 to 19,000 feet below the seabed.
The combination of water depth and the high pressure/ high temperature reservoir conditions required the development of new technology for wellheads, production manifolds, control systems and production risers.
"The strong ramp-up of production from Thunder Horse is an important milestone as we continue to grow production from our strong portfolio of deepwater assets in the Gulf of Mexico," said Andy Inglis, BP's chief executive of Exploration and Production. "We have had to overcome significant challenges in developing and applying new technology to produce this ultra-deep, high-pressure, high-temperature field. The capability and technology we have developed will be critical for our next phase of offshore projects."
Oil and gas will be transported to existing shelf and onshore pipelines via the Proteus and Endymion oil pipeline systems and the Okeanos gas pipeline system, which are part of the Mardi Gras Transportation System, the highest capacity deepwater pipeline system ever built.
"The Gulf of Mexico is an important source of domestic energy, and offshore deepwater developments like Thunder Horse now account for one of every six barrels of oil produced in the United States," said Bob Malone, chairman and president of BP America.
BP is operator of Thunder Horse with 75 percent ownership. ExxonMobil has a 25 percent working interest.