BP adds two drilling rigs in deepwater Gulf of Mexico

BP announced this week that it has added two drilling rigs to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, bringing its fleet to nine rigs.

One of the rigs is the new ultradeepwater drillship West Auriga that is under long-term contract to BP from Seadrill Ltd., a leading international offshore drilling contractor. The vessel, capable of operating in up to 12,000 feet of water, 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, state-of-the art 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 region.

BP estimates that it will invest at least $4 billion in the Gulf of Mexico 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 deepwater, as well as on significant exploration and appraisal opportunities in the Paleogene and elsewhere.

BP also has several future development projects underway 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.

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