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BP has put into operation its first deepwater oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that caused the biggest environmental catastrophe in the region.
Dubbed Argos, the platform can produce 140,000 bpd and could eventually come to account for a fifth of BP’s total production capacity in the Gulf of Mexico, the company said. The investment totaled $9 billion, the FT reported.
“The start-up of Argos is a fantastic achievement that helps deliver our integrated energy strategy – investing in today’s energy system and, at the same time, investing in the energy transition,” chief executive Bernard Looney said, adding that the project would strengthen BP’s position in the Gulf of Mexico for years to come.
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon platform explosion that cost 11 lives and the spill of millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico in what is the largest environmental disaster in the history of the oil industry in the U.S., has cost BP a total US$62 billion, as of 2016 calculations.
The after-tax figures came in at around US$44 billion. The company was found by a New Orleans judge to have been grossly negligent in its handling of the disaster, caused by a faulty blowout preventer in the Macondo well. The event led to more stringent offshore oil drilling regulations adopted by the Obama administration.
The Argos platform is part of BP’s Mad Dog Phase 2 project that aims to prolong the life of the same-name field, which was discovered in 1998. The project is one of nine that BP calls high-margin projects, to be started by the end of 2025.
Argos is coming online as BP makes a marked shift from its enthusiastic foray into all things transition two years ago. At the time, CEO Looney pledged a fast transformation of the company into a net-zero energy major but returns from low-carbon ventures have been less than stellar, prompting a rethink of strategies.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.