Location of Thunder Horse
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Following a series of tests carried out over the past four months that revealed metallurgical failure in components of the subsea system, BP plans to retrieve and rebuild all the sea-bed production equipment from its Thunder Horse field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
BP said the problem became evident when it conducted pre-commissioning tests by pumping water through the system to establish system integrity. The equipment passed all the normal industry standard tests and regulatory requirements. But when the company carried out more prolonged and rigorous testing, as an additional safety precaution, a failure occurred on a subsea weld.
As a consequence of the failure, BP said it had decided to retrieve both the damaged sea-bed manifold and a second manifold for further examination and onshore testing. The second manifold displayed a similar failure during testing last week.
In view of these failures, BP today said it would now retrieve and replace all the subsea components it believes could be at risk. This work will be done over the course of the next year and the company said it does not expect production from Thunder Horse to begin before the middle of 2008.
It said it was too early to estimate the additional costs involved in replacing the affected systems.
- The Thunder Horse field was discovered in 1999. It is designed to use
the largest production drilling quarters semi-submersible platform in
- The platform weighs more than 50,000 tons and will produce from water
depths of about 6,000 feet, from some of the highest temperature and
highest pressure wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
- The facility is designed to process 250,000 barrels of oil a day and 200
million standard cubic feet per day.
- Oil and gas will be transported to existing shelf and onshore
interconnections via the Mardi Gras transportation system.
- BP operates the development (75 per cent interest), with co-venturer
ExxonMobil owning the balance.
- BP began deepwater Gulf of Mexico operations in the mid-1980s. BP now
produces about 270,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from nearly two
dozen fields, including BP-operated facilities at Pompano, Marlin, Horn
Mountain and Na Kika.