BP To Bring Aspen Discovery Online by Year End

BP announced an agreement with Nexen Petroleum USA Inc. that will bring BP's Aspen discovery into production by the end of this year.

Under terms of the agreement, Nexen will pay incremental development costs for the Aspen field being 'fast-tracked' to production, and will now have a 60 percent equity stake in Aspen. Previously, the company held a 20 percent interest. BP will remain the operator.

BP and Nexen have also agreed to a development plan for a portion of the field. Development of approximately 40 million barrels equivalent will be completed with subsea completions, located on Green Canyon block 243, tied back to a host platform. Production is expected to begin by 4Q 2002. The two companies will continue to work together on exploration of other portions of the field and several blocks near Aspen that are jointly held by the two companies.

Aspen is located approximately 150 miles south-southwest of New Orleans, La., in the Green Canyon region of the Gulf of Mexico. The original discovery was made in 2001 and three delineation sidetracks have been drilled.

Aspen is a deepwater field located in approximately 3,000 feet of water on Green Canyon Block 243. The discovery is located near the BP-operated Troika field, which is jointly owned by BP, Shell and Marathon.

BP is the largest acreage holder in the deepwater Gulf with more than 700 gross blocks in water depths greater than 1,500 feet. The company has a substantial reserve base in the deepwater Gulf, with ownership of approximately 35 percent of all deepwater Gulf reserves discovered to date. BP currently produces more than 300,000 boe per day from its deepwater Gulf of Mexico fields.