Thunder Horse Oil Field

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Thunder Horse oil field
Thunder Horse Semisub.jpg
Thunder Horse Platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005.
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Location of Thunder Horse oil field
Country United States
Region Gulf of Mexico
Location Mississippi Canyon
Blocks776, 777, 778
Offshore/onshoreOffshore
Coordinates 28°06′33″N88°29′40″W / 28.1091°N 88.4944°W / 28.1091; -88.4944 Coordinates: 28°06′33″N88°29′40″W / 28.1091°N 88.4944°W / 28.1091; -88.4944
Operator BP plc
Partners BP plc (75%)
ExxonMobil (25%)
Field history
Discovery1999
Start of development2000
Start of production2007
Production
Current production of oil250,000 barrels per day (~1.2×10^7 t/a)
Current production of gas200×10^6 cu ft/d (5.7×10^6 m3/d)
Estimated oil in place1,000 million barrels (~1.4×10^8 t)
Producing formations Lower Tertiary

Thunder Horse oil field is a large offshore deepwater oil field in the Gulf of Mexico, around 150 miles (240 km) southeast of New Orleans, Louisiana. Large new oil discoveries within it were announced in early 2019.

Contents

Description

The field is being developed by BP plc and 25% partner ExxonMobil [1] It is the largest offshore production platform in the Gulf, with a processing capacity of 250 thousand barrels per day (40×10^3 m3/d) of oil and 200 million cubic feet per day (5,700,000 m3/d) of natural gas, and the field is believed to hold in excess of 1 billion barrels (160×10^6 m3) of oil. [2] Actual production approached capacity in March 2009, but started to decline soon after that. [3]

In January 2019, BP announced a new billion barrels of oil have been found within the field. [4]

Discovery and development

The Thunder Horse discovery well was drilled in 1999 on Mississippi Canyon block 778. It was drilled to a depth of 25,770 feet (7,850 m) from the drillship Discoverer 534 , hitting three intervals of oil.

A second well was drilled in block 822, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) southeast of the initial discovery, reaching a depth of 29,000 feet (8,800 m) in November 2000 and also encountered three primary intervals of oil.

In February 2001 a new field known as Thunder Horse North was drilled in block 776, approximately 5 miles northwest of the original field. This well reached 26,000 feet (7,900 m) and again met three intervals of oil.[ citation needed ]

Actually developing the field was a major technological challenge due to the depth of the find. Not only are the distances large, but at such depths the formations holding the hydrocarbons create pressures over 1,200 bars (120  MPa ) and temperatures of 135 °C (275 °F). Prior to Thunder Horse, no field had ever been developed at such a depth.

Following lengthy delays caused by the need to repair and replace components in the subsea system (following a failure during pre-commissioning checks), "First oil" came on June 14, 2008. Since then, Thunder Horse has steadily ramped up its production by bringing on new wells. In March 2009, Thunder Horse produced close to 250,000 barrels per day (40,000 m3/d) oil equivalent in oil and natural gas from seven wells. Plans were in place to add two additional wells in 2009 to further develop the north end of the field. By January 2010 the MMS data indicated that total daily production during 2009 had declined from near 250,000 to 175,000 barrels per day (39,700 to 27,800 m3/d). [5] [6] The Washington Post noted in May 2010 that "There could be less off-shore oil than the [Obama] administration assumes" quoting an analysis in TheOilDrum.com by Glenn Morton, a consultant for oil exploration projects who stated that "Thunder Horse hasn't reached anywhere near its expected potential," in oil or natural gas a fact which "underscore[s] the point that deepwater oil drilling is a tricky process, and not always as easy or predictable as thought" [7]

Thunder Horse platform

Thunder Horse PDQ is the largest moored semi-submersible production oil platform in the world, located in 1,920 metres (6,300 ft) of water in the Mississippi Canyon Block 778/822, about 150 miles (240 km) southeast of New Orleans.

The hull section was constructed by DSME in South Korea and delivered in to Kiewit Offshore Services in Ingleside, Texas on 23 September 2004 aboard MV Blue Marlin for completion. [8] Thunder Horse was completed at Kiewit Offshore Services in nearby Ingleside, Texas.

Thunder Horse PDQ was evacuated with the approach of Hurricane Dennis in July 2005. after the hurricane passed, the platform was listing badly. The platform was designed for a 100-year event, and inspection teams found no hull damage, and no water was taken on from a leak through its hull. Rather, an incorrectly plumbed, 6-inch length of pipe allowed water to flow freely among several ballast tanks that set forth a chain of events causing the platform to tip into the water. [9] [10] The platform was fully righted about a week after Dennis, delaying commercial production initially scheduled for late 2005. [11] During repairs, it was discovered that the underwater manifold was severely cracked due to poorly welded pipes. The rig's design engineer, Gordon Aaker, said that the cracked manifold could have caused a catastrophic oil spill. [12]

The platform took a near-direct hit six weeks later by Hurricane Katrina, but was undamaged.

Naming dispute

Originally called Crazy Horse, BP changed the name out of respect to descendants of the Native American warrior of the same name. The company said that it acted after the family of the Lakota warrior and spiritual leader told them that use of his name outside of a spiritual context is sacrilegious. [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

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An oil platform, offshore platform, or offshore drilling rig is a large structure with facilities for well drilling to explore, extract, store, and process petroleum and natural gas which lies in rock formations beneath the seabed. Many oil platforms will also contain facilities to accommodate their workforce. Most commonly, oil platforms engage in activities on the continental shelf, though they can also be used in lakes, inshore waters and inland seas. Depending on the circumstances, the platform may be fixed to the ocean floor, may consist of an artificial island, or may float. Remote subsea wells may also be connected to a platform by flow lines and by umbilical connections. These sub-sea solutions may consist of one or more subsea wells, or of one or more manifold centres for multiple wells.

Semi-submersible platform ship type

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Atlantis Oil Field

The Atlantis oil field is the third largest oil field in the Gulf of Mexico. The field was discovered in 1998 and is located at the Green Canyon blocks 699, 700, 742, 743, and 744 in United States federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico about 130 miles (210 km) from the coast of Louisiana. The oil field lies in water depths ranging from 4,400 to 7,100 feet. The subsea structure of Atlantis has long been the target of safety critics.

Mars (oil platform) oil platform

Mars is a permanent offshore drilling and production tension-leg oil platform (TLP) operating in Mississippi Canyon blocks 762, 763, 806, 807, 850 and 851 in the Gulf of Mexico and was approved by the MMS in December 1992 with production beginning on July 8, 1996. The leases were acquired by Shell in 1985 and 1988. The platform is a joint venture between Shell Oil Company and BP, with Shell owning the majority share and operating the facility.

Azeri–Chirag–Gunashli

Azeri–Chirag–Gunashli or Azeri–Chirag–Deepwater Gunashli is a complex of oil fields in the Caspian Sea, about 120 kilometres (75 mi) off the coast of Azerbaijan. It consist of Azeri and Chirag oil fields, and the deepwater portion of the Gunashli oil field. An overall estimated area of the development is 432.4 square kilometres (167.0 sq mi). It is developed by the Azerbaijan International Operating Company, a consortium of international oil companies, and operated by BP on behalf of the consortium. The ACG fields have estimated recoverable reserves of about 5 to 6 billion barrels of petroleum. As of the end of 2005, the production rate from eight pre-drilled wells at the platform was approximately 240,000 barrels per day (38,000 m3/d).

Mad Dog Oil Field

Mad Dog Oil Field is an offshore oil field located along the Sigsbee Escarpment at Green Canyon blocks 825, 826 and 782, Western Atwater Foldbelt, Gulf of Mexico. The field is located about 190 miles (310 km) south of New Orleans and 150 miles (240 km) southwest of Venice, Louisiana, United States. It is in the depth of 5,000 to 7,000 feet of water.

<i>Deepwater Horizon</i> Former offshore oil drilling rig

Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater, dynamically positioned, semi-submersible offshore drilling rig owned by Transocean. Built in 2001 in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries, the rig was commissioned by R&B Falcon, registered in Majuro, and leased to BP from 2001 until September 2013. In September 2009, the rig drilled the deepest oil well in history at a vertical depth of 35,050 ft (10,683 m) and measured depth of 35,055 ft (10,685 m) in the Tiber Oil Field at Keathley Canyon block 102, approximately 250 miles (400 km) southeast of Houston, in 4,132 feet (1,259 m) of water.

Deepwater drilling, or Deep well drilling, is the process of creating holes by drilling rig for oil mining in deep sea. There are approximately 3400 deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico with depths greater than 150 meters.

Tiber Oil Field

The Tiber Oil Field is a deepwater offshore oil field located in the Keathley Canyon block 102 of the United States sector of the Gulf of Mexico. The deepwater field was discovered in September 2009 and it is operated by BP. Described as a "giant" find, it is estimated to contain 4 to 6 billion barrels of oil in place. Although BP states it is too early to be sure of the size – a "huge" field is usually considered to contain 250 million barrels. It required the drilling of a 10,685 m (35,056 ft) deep well under 1,260 m (4,130 ft) of water, making it one of the deepest wells ever drilled at the time of discovery.

FPSO <i>Noble Seillean</i> floating oil production, storage and offloading vessel

The FPSO Noble Seillean was a dynamically positioned floating oil production, storage and offloading vessel.

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Gunashli is an offshore oil field in the Caspian Sea, located 120 kilometres (75 mi) east of Baku, Azerbaijan, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) southeast of Oil Rocks and its deep water section is a part of the larger Azeri–Chirag–Guneshli (ACG) project. The Azeri translation of Gunashli means "sunny". Gunashli is believed to have more than 100 million tonnes of oil reserves.

Macondo Prospect oil and gas prospect in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone of the Gulf of Mexico

The Macondo Prospect is an oil and gas prospect in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. The prospect was the site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion in April 2010 that led to a major oil spill in the region.

Atlantis PQ is a BP and BHP joint venture semi-submersible oil platform on permanent location over the Green Canyon Atlantis Oil Field in deepwater Gulf of Mexico, 190 mi (310 km) south of New Orleans. The "PQ" identifies the platform as being a production facility with crew quarters.

Thunder Horse PDQ

Thunder Horse PDQ is a BP plc and ExxonMobil joint venture semi-submersible oil platform on location over the Mississippi Canyon Thunder Horse oil field, in deepwater Gulf of Mexico, 150 miles (240 km) southeast of New Orleans, moored in waters of 1,840 metres (6,040 ft). The "PDQ" identifies the platform as being a Production and oil Drilling facility with crew Quarters.

<i>Discoverer Enterprise</i>

Discoverer Enterprise is a fifth generation deepwater double hulled dynamically positioned drillship owned and operated by Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc., capable of operating in moderate environments and water depths up to 3,049 m (10,000 ft) using an 18.75 in (47.6 cm), 15,000 psi blowout preventer (BOP), and a 21 in (53 cm) outside diameter (OD) marine riser. From 1998 to 2005 the vessel was Panama-flagged and currently flies the flag of convenience of the Marshall Islands.

Perdido (oil platform) oil platform

Perdido is the deepest floating oil platform in the world at a water depth of about 2450 meters operated by the Shell Oil Company in the Gulf of Mexico USA.

Olympus is a tension leg platform oil rig, planned as a further development of the Mars field.

References

  1. Bergin, Tom (2008-06-17). "BP's Thunder Horse starts oil and gas production". Reuters . Retrieved 2009-05-29.
  2. "Still a Mystery". Petroleum News. March 6, 2005. Retrieved 2009-05-29.
  3. "BP's Thunder Horse to Under-Perform in the Wake of the Deepwater Horizon Blowout?". The Oil Drum. April 30, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  4. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/08/bp-just-discovered-a-billion-barrels-of-oil-in-gulf-of-mexico.html
  5. Thunder Horse Oil Production in Thousand Barrels per Day, based on data of Minerals Management Services
  6. BP's Thunder Horse to underperform in the wake of the deepwater horizon blowout?
  7. Wonkbook: Primary results complicate FinReg; read Elena Kagan's every written word; oil reaching Louisiana
  8. "Dockwise Delivers Thunder Horse PDQ to Corpus Christi". Rigzone. September 24, 2004. Retrieved 2006-03-28.
  9. "GVA 4000 Thunderhorse". GVA. 2010. Archived from the original on 26 February 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  10. David Greising (28 May 2007). "Troubles Run Deep on Gulf Oil Platform". RedOrbit. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  11. Benoit Faucon (July 26, 2005). "BP CEO: Thunder Horse 2005 Start 'Unlikely'" . Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  12. Lyall, Sarah. In BP’s Record, a History of Boldness and Costly Blunders. New York Times, 2010-07-13.
  13. "Vision Led to Crazy Horse Find". American Association of Petroleum Geologists. 2002-03-02. Retrieved 2009-05-29.