W&T Offshore has started the first production from Big Bend field in Mississippi Canyon 698, part of the Noble Energy-operated Rio Grande Loop project in the deepwater of Gulf of Mexico.

The Rio Grande is a subsea tieback development to the third-party Thunder Hawk production host facility.

According to the company, production from Big Bend is expected to increase towards a peak rate of more than 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day gross. More than 91% of production would be oil.

Dantzler field in Mississippi Canyon 782/738 is also part of the project and is expected to produce first oil in early November.

"These fields represent a substantial part of W&T’s growth and are expected to boost our 2015 production exit rates significantly.

Combined production from both fields, which W&T Offshore has a 20% working interest, is expected to be at a peak rate of around 8,000 boe per day net to the company’s interest by 2015-end.

W&T Offshore chairman and CEO Tracy Krohn said: "We are very pleased to announce first production from this world class and prolific deepwater field, and we are equally pleased that the development of the two Dantzler discoveries are being completed well ahead of schedule.

"These fields represent a substantial part of W&T’s growth and are expected to boost our 2015 production exit rates significantly."

Discovered in 2012 and sanctioned in 2013, Big Bend is set to boost production of Noble Energy’s deepwater Gulf of Mexico business.

Dantzler is planned as a two-well tie-back, using Big Bend infrastructure.