US oil production is forecast to increase in 2009, most of it from three Gulf of Mexico platforms: Atlantis, Thunder Horse, and Tahiti late in the year. These platforms will account for two-thirds of the total domestic increase, according to Energy Information Administration.
Domestic production in 2009 is projected to increase by 320,000 b/d to an average of 5.25 MMb/d. This would be the first production increase since 1991, says EIA.
By early 2010, the Big 3 are expected to reach their combined designed production capacity of 575,000 b/d of oil. MMS reports that total production from the federal GoM averaged 1.3 MMb/d in 2008 before hurricanes Gustav and Ike impacted supply.
Atlantis: Production from Atlantis field began in October 2007. The initial wells are in the Atlantis South area, with additional drilling planned in Atlantis North to increase production to peak capacity. At least 18 subsea wells are expected to be connected to the field’s semisubmersible production platform which is designed to handle 200,000 b/d of oil and 180 MMcf/d of natural gas.
At the time of first oil, the platform was the deepest floating oil and gas production facility in the world, moored in 7,070 ft (2,155 m) of water on Green Canyon block 699.
BP operates Atlantis with a 56% working interest. BHP Billiton holds the remaining 44% interest.
Thunder Horse: BP started flowing its third and fourth wells at the Thunder Horse field in 4Q 2008, bringing total production to more than 200,000 boe/d. Additional wells are scheduled to come online from the Thunder Horse North field in the first half of this year. Full field development is expected to include at least 25 subsea wells.
The Thunder Horse semisubmersible production, drilling, and quarters platform is fitted with capacity to process 250,000 b/d of oil and 200 MMcf/d of natural gas. It is moored in 6,050 ft (1,844 m) of water in Mississippi Canyon block 778.
BP operates Thunder Horse field with a 75% working interest. ExxonMobil holds the remaining 25% interest.
Tahiti: First production from Tahiti field is expected in the third quarter of this year. Field development includes subsea wells from two drill centers connected to a truss spar in 4,000 ft (1,219 m) of water on Green Canyon block 640. The platform is designed with capacity to process 125,000 b/d of oil and 70 MMcf/d of natural gas.
At print, installation of the platform’s hull and topsides were complete and platform commissioning was under way.
Chevron operates Tahiti with a 58% working interest. Partners are StatoilHydro (25%) and Total (17%).
Other deepwater floating production systems expected to add to oil capacity this year include: BHP-operated Shenzi TLP (100,000 b/d capacity), Murphy-operated semisubmersible Thunder Hawk (45,000 b/d capacity, expandable to 60,000), Helix-operated Phoenix floating production unit (30,000 b/d capacity), and ATP-operated Mirage MinDOC (25,000 b/d capacity).