Seadrill’s new ultra-deepwater drillship, the West Auriga, recently began development drilling work at BP’s Thunder Horse field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The sixth-generation drillship has forward and aft top drives, pipe rackers and a driller’s cabin. The rig can operate in up to 12,000 ft and has been equipped with a simulator that provides a virtual representation of the drill floor equipment to facilitate onboard training.
BP also recently resumed development drilling at the Mad Dog field complex. BP added a reconstructed rig onto the Mad Dog oil and gas production platform to replace the original rig that was damaged and left inoperable by Hurricane Ike in 2008.
“The addition of these two new rigs reflects the vital importance of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to the future of BP,” Richard Morrison, regional president of BP’s GOM business, said. “It also clearly demonstrates BP’s commitment to the American economy and US energy security.”
With both the West Auriga and Mad Dog rigs now online, BP has a company record of nine rigs in its fleet. The company anticipates investing, on average, at least $4 billion in the GOM each year for the next decade. The company plans to concentrate future activity and investment in the GOM 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.
BP is also advancing future development projects in the deepwater GOM. 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.