Thunder Horse Expansion Builds on BP’s Gulf of Mexico Strategy

Topics: Asset/portfolio management
BP announced the startup of the South Expansion project for its Thunder Horse deepwater platform in the US Gulf of Mexico. Source: BP.

BP is expecting to get a significant boost in production from one of its deepwater facilities in the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM), as the company started up the Thunder Horse South Expansion project 11 months ahead of schedule.

The project adds a subsea production system approximately 2 mi south of the existing Thunder Horse platform. The system is a collection point for wells connected to the Thunder Horse platform by two 11,000-ft flowlines installed on the seabed in late 2016. It is expected to boost production at the facility by an estimated 50,000 BOE/D.

The Thunder Horse expansion finished 15% below BP’s original budget (approximately USD 150 million) in part because BP used proven standardized equipment and technology instead of building customized components. Steve Raymer, project manager for the Thunder Horse expansion, said the majority of the subsea equipment used in the expansion was exactly the same as what was used in earlier work at the site.

“The manifold is a very close copy of an existing design using standard internal components,” Raymer said. “The trees, flying leads, and the jumpers are also exactly the same as what we’ve previously used here.”

In addition, BP and Technip used traditional physical and advanced 3D simulation modeling techniques to develop an optimal solution for safely initiating the flowlines below the Thunder Horse platform without affecting its production.

Thunder Horse is one of several elements of a larger production-boosting strategy for BP in the GOM. Last year, the company launched a water injection project at Thunder Horse that will allow for the recovery of an additional 65 million BOE. It also approved a second phase of the Mad Dog project, which will include a new floating production platform capable of producing up to 140,000 BOPD from 14 production wells in the Mad Dog field.

“We have gained production momentum in the Gulf of Mexico through nearby tiebacks, development drilling, and well work at our core assets, like Atlantis, Mad Dog, Na Kika, and here at our Thunder Horse field,” Raymer said.

BP said in a press release that the first new well for the project tapped into the highest amount of hydrocarbon-bearing sand seen to date at the Thunder Horse field. Richard Morrison, regional president of BP’s GOM business, said the project’s quick startup shows the effectiveness of the company’s strategy to focus on its existing asset base.

“The Thunder Horse South Expansion project proves that deep water can be done in a cost-effective way, while keeping a relentless focus on safety,” Morrison said.

Discovered in July 1999, Thunder Horse is currently one of the largest deepwater producing fields in the GOM. It comprises two adjacent fields with reservoirs in the Upper Miocene turbidite sandstones, and it holds the capacity to handle 250,000 BOPD and 200 MMcf/D of natural gas. BP operates the development with co-owner ExxonMobil.

Thunder Horse Expansion Builds on BP’s Gulf of Mexico Strategy

Stephen Whitfield, Senior Staff Writer

06 February 2017