New technologies help BP confirm major Gulf of Mexico oil discovery

BP has made a discovery of one billion barrels of crude at an existing oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico and announced the approval of a major expansion of the Atlantis field in the same oil play.

The one billion barrels find came at its Thunder Horse field off the tip of Louisiana, with executives crediting BP’s investment in advanced seismic technology and data processing for speeding up the confirmation of the discovery.

Advanced seismic images and reservoir characterisation were also used to discover an additional 400 million barrels of oil at Atlantis, while the confirmation process was expedited by data processing technology.

BP will now invest US$1.3 billion in developing Atlantis Phase 3, with production scheduled to start in 2020. The eight new wells will add 38,000 barrels per day (bpd) to BP’s production at Atlantis.

“We are building on our world-class position, upgrading the resources at our fields through technology, productivity and exploration success,” said Bernard Looney, BP’s chief executive for production and exploration.

The Gulf of Mexico is BP’s biggest producer with around 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), and this is expected to rise to 400,000 boepd by the middle of the next decade.