BP sanctions Atlantis expansion in the Gulf of Mexico

Jan. 8, 2019
BP has approved the $1.3-billion Atlantis Phase 3 development in the deepwater US Gulf of Mexico.

Offshore staff

HOUSTONBP has approved the $1.3-billion Atlantis Phase 3 development in the deepwater US Gulf of Mexico.

Atlantis Phase 3 will include the construction of a new subsea production system from eight new wells that will be tied into the current semisubmersible production platform, 150 mi (241 km) south of New Orleans in more than 7,000 ft (2,134 m) of water. Scheduled to come onstream in 2020, the project is expected to boost production at the platform by an estimated 38,000 boe/d gross at its peak.

It will also access the eastern area of the field where recent company breakthroughs inadvanced seismic imaging and reservoir characterization revealed an additional 400 MMbbl of oil in place.

Starlee Sykes, BP’s regional president for the Gulf of Mexico and Canada, said: “Atlantis Phase 3 shows how our latest technologies and digital techniques create real value – identifying opportunities, driving efficiencies and enabling the delivery of major projects. Developments like this are building an exciting future for our business in the Gulf.”

BP is the operator ofAtlantis and holds a 56% working interest, with BHP holding the remaining 44%. BHP is expected to make a final investment decision on Atlantis Phase 3 in early 2019.

In addition, the proprietary algorithms developed by the company are said to enhance a seismic imaging technique known as full waveform inversion (FWI), allowing seismic data that would have previously taken a year to analyze to be processed in only a few weeks. Application of this technology and reservoir characterization has now identified a further 1 Bbbl of oil in place at the Thunder Horse field.

Following a successful field trial at the Mad Dog field, further advanced seismic imaging with ocean bottom nodes and the company’s proprietary Wolfspar seismic acquisition source is being planned for Thunder Horse and Atlantis to better understand the reservoirs. Wolfspar uses ultra-low frequencies during seismic surveys, allowing geophysicists to see deeper below salt layers and enabling better planning of where to drill wells.

BP has also reported two oil discoveries at the Manuel and Nearly Headless Nick prospects in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Manuel discovery is located on Mississippi Canyon block 520, east of the BP-operated Na Kika platform. The well encountered oil pay in high-quality Miocene sandstone reservoirs. The company is expecting to develop these reservoirs viasubsea tieback to the Na Kika platform. Shell holds a 50% working interest in the Manuel discovery.

TheLLOG-operated Nearly Headless Nick discovery is located on Mississippi Canyon block 387. The well encountered oil pay in high-quality Miocene sandstone reservoirs and is expected to be tied back to the nearby LLOG-operated Delta House facility. BP holds a 20.25% working interest. Other partners in the Nearly Headless Nick discovery include LLOG, Kosmos Energy Ltd., and Ridgewood Energy.

Over the last five years, BP’s net production in the Gulf of Mexico has increased by more than 60%, rising from less than 200,000 boe/d in 2013 to more than 300,000 boe/d today. According to the company, it is currently the top oil producer in the Gulf and anticipates its production growing to around 400,000 boe/d through the middle of the next decade.

The growth will be supported by recent project startups, includingThunder Horse Northwest and Thunder Horse South expansions and the Thunder Horse Water Injection project, as well as the addition of a second platform (Argos) at the Mad Dog field, which is on budget and on schedule to come online in late 2021.

Future potential developments in the Gulf include Atlantis Phase 4 and 5, further developments at Thunder Horse, Na Kika subsea tiebacks, and Mad Dog field extensions.

Bernard Looney, BP’s Upstream chief executive, said: “BP’s Gulf of Mexico business is key to our strategy of growing production of advantaged high-margin oil. We are building on our world-class position, upgrading the resources at our fields throughtechnology, productivity, and exploration success.

“And these fields are still young – only 12% of the hydrocarbons in place across our Gulf portfolio have been produced so far. We can see many opportunities for further development, offering the potential to continue to create significant value through the middle of the next decade and beyond.”