BP Plc on Sept. 28 announced the safe and successful startup of its Thunder Horse South Expansion Phase 2 project expected to increase output at one of the largest fields in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

“This has been a pivotal year for our Gulf of Mexico business as we continue to start up new projects,” Starlee Sykes, BP senior vice president, Gulf of Mexico and Canada, commented in a company release. “Bringing high-margin, resilient barrels online in basins we know best is central to BP’s strategy.”

Located 150 miles southeast of New Orleans on Mississippi Canyon block 822, Thunder Horse is BP’s largest production and drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. It is designed to process up to 250,000 barrels of oil and 200 MMcf of natural gas per day.

The Phase 2 start-up of the Thunder Horse is part of BP’s plans to grow its Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production to around 400,000 boe/d net by the mid-2020s.

“This is another significant milestone for BP, completing the delivery of our planned major projects for 2021,” Ewan Drummond, senior vice president of projects, production and operations at BP, said in the release on Sept. 28.

Thunder Horse South Expansion Phase 2 completes the program of five major project start-ups planned by BP for 2021. In total, together with the early start-up of the Matapal project in Trinidad, six major projects have come onstream for BP this year.

“This project [Thunder Horse] is a great example of the type of fast-payback, high-return tie-back opportunities we continue to deliver as we focus and high-grade our portfolio,” Drummond added.

The initial two wells of the Thunder Horse South Expansion Phase 2 project will add up to 25,000 boe/d. Eventually a total of eight wells are expected to be drilled as part of the project’s overall development. 

BP is a leading producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, operating four production platforms—Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika. A fifth platform, Argos, is expected to come online in 2022.

BP has a 75% working interest in the Thunder Horse project. Exxon Mobil Corp. holds the remaining 25% stake.  

The Thunder Horse Field was discovered in 1999 and is one of BP’s largest discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico. Located in 6,350 feet of water, the project consists of two subsea drill centers operated by 10-inch dual flow lines with the opportunity for simultaneous Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit operations.