BP CEO: Thunder Horse 2005 Start 'Unlikely'

Benoit Faucon

LONDON, Jul 26, 2005 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex)

The startup of oil production at BP PLC's (BP) Thunder Horse offshore platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico - affected by Hurricane Dennis - is "unlikely" to occur at the end of 2005, BP Chief Executive John Browne said Tuesday.

The world's largest semi-submersible platform, Thunder Horse tilted two weeks ago after the hurricane passed through the Gulf of Mexico. The U.K. oil major has since righted the structure.

The company said it couldn't say at this stage if there is damage to the platform or what caused it to tilt.

Thunder Horse is expected to be a significant contributor to North American output when it begins producing. The platform originally was supposed to hit first oil in late 2005.

Thunder Horse is designed to process up to about 250,000 barrels a day of oil and about 200 million cubic feet a day of gas.

BP is the operator and 75% shareholder of the platform, while ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM) owns the remaining 25%. Copyright (c) 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.