British oil major BP has commenced operations at its Herschel expansion project, in the Gulf of Mexico.
The expansion field is in the Mississippi Canyon block 520, south-east of the BP-operated Na Kika platform, in approximately 6,700ft of water.
It is said to be the first of four major projects which are planned to be delivered this year.
The company and Shell each hold a 50% working interest in the Herschel development.
The project’s first phase includes the development of a new subsea production system, as well as the first of up to three wells that are tied to the Na Kika platform.
The first well is expected to increase the annual gross production of the platform by 10,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day, at its peak.
BP Gulf of Mexico and Canada senior vice-president Starlee Sykes said: “BP continues to grow its position in the Gulf of Mexico by bringing online high-quality projects.
“Like other recent start-ups in the Gulf of Mexico, with Herschel, we are tying into existing infrastructure to produce some of the most efficient barrels in the world.
“Focusing our hydrocarbons business on the highest quality resources, such as these, sits at the heart of BP’s strategy. Doing so safely, ahead of schedule and under budget, is testament to the calibre of the team.”
Located nearly 225.3km off the coast of New Orleans, the company-operated well was drilled to a depth of approximately 19,000ft.
BP operates the Na Kika, Mad Dog, Thunder Horse, and Atlantis production platforms.
Argos is the fifth platform, which is expected to become operational this year.
Earlier this month, BP reported profits of almost $13bn in 2021, which is the company’s highest earnings since 2013.