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On Tuesday BP published a company press release announcing that it had added another two drilling rigs to its deepwater fleet operating in the Gulf of Mexico. On top of another two rigs that were added in late 2012, this brings the company’s total Gulf fleet up to nine, making it BP’s largest ever, just three years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster that seemed to threaten the future of the BP’s business in the region.
One of the new rigs is the ultra-deep drillship West Auriga owned by Seadrill Ltd., one of the leading international offshore drilling contractors. BP has leased the vessel, capable of drilling in up to 12,000 feet of water, on a long-term contract, and has set it to work in the Thunder Horse field.
West Auriga drill ship.
The other rig is actually an old platform that has been repaired and renovated. The Mad Dog oil and gas production platform, that operates at the giant Mad Dog field, was badly damaged and rendered inoperable after the passing of Hurricane Ike in 2008. Repairs have now been completed and the rigs technology has been updated to state of the art level, allowing it to once more resume production.
Mad Dog rig.
Richard Morrison, BP’s Regional President for the Gulf of Mexico, said that “the addition of these two new rigs reflects the vital importance of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to the future of BP. It also clearly demonstrates BP’s commitment to the American economy and U.S. energy security.”
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BP also announced that it plans to spend about $4 billion a year on its deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Boosting investment in order to expand operations in the Gulf and develop new fields for growing overall output. It will develop opportunities at its four major producing hubs, the Thunder Horse, Na Kika, Atlantics, and Mad Dog fields, as well as working to bring online new hubs at the Mars, Ursa, and Great White fields.
Fuel Fix estimates that as international oil giants move back into the Gulf of Mexico, following the moratorium on some deepsea operation following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, daily production next year could grow by 180,000 barrels to 1.55 million barrels. And in another three years that figure could have grown again to surpass the record levels of 1.8 million barrels a day in 2009.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com