BP has approved another expansion to one of the largest oil fields in the US Gulf of Mexico.
Phase two of the Thunder Horse South Expansion will add an estimated 50,000 barrrels of oil equivalent to peak daily production at the existing Thunder Horse platform.
BP did not reveal the cost of the expansion, but last year said it would spend £1bn on another expansion at the Atlantis project, also in the Gulf, adding an additional 38,000 barrels per day.
Phase two of Thunder Horse South involves drilling two production wells in the short term, approximately two miles south of the platform.
Eventually eight wells will be drilled as part of the overall development.
First oil from Thunder Horse, which lies 150 miles south-east of New Orleans, is expected in 2021.
According to the energy major, Thunder Horse has the capacity to produce 250,000 barrels of oil and 200 million cubic feet of gas per day.
It is the latest in a series of expansion projects at the development and last year BP said it had discovered an additional one billion barrels of oil there through use of new seismic imaging technology.
Starlee Sykes, BP’s regional president for the Gulf of Mexico and Canada, said: “This latest expansion at Thunder Horse is another example of how the Gulf of Mexico is leading the way in advantaged oil growth for BP, unlocking significant value and safely growing a high-margin business.
“It also highlights our continued growth and momentum in a region that will remain a key part of BP’s global portfolio for years to come.”
Thunder Horse is operated by BP with a 75% interest, while partner ExxonMobil holds the remaining 25%.
It is one of BP’s largest discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico and is one of its four operated platforms in the region, also including Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika.