BP announced that it increased its fleet on Tuesday, announcing that it added two drilling rigs to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM).
BP’s count now stands at nine rigs - a company record. Following the end of its year-long moratorium imposed in 2010, BP grew its number of operated rigs in the GOM from five in 2011 to seven in 2012.
One acquisition is the West Auriga, an ultra-deepwater drillship under long-term contract from Seadrill Ltd. According to Seadrill, the West Auriga flies the Panamanian flag and was constructed at Samsung in South Korea. Seadrill lists the rig as being booked until August 2020. The drillship can operate in up to 12,000ft of water and 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 rig, the platform recently resumed development drilling at the 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 US energy security.”
BP currently 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 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.
BP is also advancing a strong 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.
Discovered in 1998, BP calls Mad Dog one of its largest GOM discoveries to date. However, in September, Reuters reported that BP canceled contracts to build a $10 billion extension to its field, which was supposed to begin at the end of the year.
Image of Mad Dog courtesy BP