BP starts 140,000 bbl/d platform in the US Gulf of Mexico

Article by Amanda Jasi

BP has started oil production at its new Argos platform in the US Gulf of Mexico. The 140,000 bbl/d platform is the first that BP has started in the region since 2008 and will increase the company’s production capacity in the region by 20%.

Argos is the centrepiece of BP’s US$9bn Mad Dog phase 2 project, to bring a second floating platform online at its Mad Dog oil field. First discovered in 1998, the field was estimated from drilling appraisals conducted in 2009 and 2011 to contain more than 5m boe, creating the need for a second platform.

The semi-submersible platform is expected to increase BP’s gross operated production capacity in the Gulf by 20%. BP is one of the largest oil producers in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and in 2022 produced about 269,000 boe/d from four existing platforms.

Ewan Drummond, senior vice president of production and operations at BP, said that Argos is key to the company’s strategy to increase production in the Gulf of Mexico to around 400,000 bbl/d by the middle of the decade. BP also notes that it targets average output of 350,000 boe/d across the decade. BP had taken the lead among its peers by committing to restructure its business to reduce oil and gas output, but earlier this year it diluted its plans following record profits, saying the extra income generated from fresh oil and gas production would be invested into clean energy.

BP plans to ramp up production from Argos “safely and systematically” through 2023. The platform will support 250 permanent jobs.

Bernard Looney, CEO of BP, said: “The start-up of Argos is a fantastic achievement that helps deliver our integrated energy strategy – investing in today’s energy system and, at the same time, investing in the energy transition. As BP’s most digital facility worldwide, applying our latest technologies, Argos will strengthen our key position in the Gulf of Mexico for years to come.”

BP’s most digitally advanced platform

BP’s Argos features the company’s proprietary LoSal Enhanced Oil Recovery technology, which uses reduced salinity water. The new platform has a waterflood injection capacity of more than 140,000 bbl/d of low-salinity water to help enhance oil recovery from the Mad Dog field.

Argos also has a dynamic digital twin, a BP patent-pending technology software that links complex data obtained from the platform to a 3D digital model of its systems. This allows remote operators wearing virtual reality headsets to access data in real time to improve decision making, efficiency, and safety.

BP operates Argos and has a 60.5% working interest.  Its co-owners are Woodside Energy (23.9%) and Union Oil Company of California, an affiliate of Chevron (15.6%)

Argos is one of nine high-margin major projects that BP plans to start up around the globe by the end of 2025, expected to produce about 200m boe/d.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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