BP has announced a £1billion expansion of its Atlantis development in the Gulf of Mexico amid the discovery of huge additional oil reserves.
Atlantis Phase Three will create a new subsea production system, from eight new wells to be tied into the platform, due to come on stream in 2020.
BP said advanced seismic imaging has revealed 400million extra barrels of oil equivalent at Atlantis, and an additional billion barrels at the nearby Thunder Horse project.
The Atlantis platform lies 150miles south of New Orleans, with the new system expected to add an additional 38,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day at its peak.
The energy giant also announced two new discoveries at the nearby Manuel and Nearly Headless Nick prospects which could bring further tie-back opportunities.
Upstream chief executive Bernard Looney said: “BP’s Gulf of Mexico business is key to our strategy of growing production of advantaged high-margin oil. We are building on our world-class position, upgrading the resources at our fields through technology, productivity and exploration success.
“And these fields are still young – only 12% of the hydrocarbons in place across our Gulf portfolio have been produced so far. We can see many opportunities for further development, offering the potential to continue to create significant value through the middle of the next decade and beyond.”
BP said its net production in the region has increased by more than 60% in the last five years, bolstered by recent start-up projects like Thunder Horse and the Mad Dog.