The Argos FPU sailed away from its construction site in South Korea  in February 2021. Credit: BP plc.
Production from Mad Dog Phase 2 started in April 2023. Credit: BP plc.
Argos is BP’s fifth production platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: BP plc.

Mad Dog Phase 2 is located in water depths of 1,370m to 2,200m in the Green Canyon area in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 306km (190 miles) south of New Orleans, Louisiana, US.

The project is a southern and southwestern extension of the existing BP-operated Mad Dog offshore oil and gas field, which was discovered in 1998 and started production in 2005.

BP operates the Mad Dog field with a 60.5% interest while Woodside Energy (formerly BHP Billiton) and Union Oil Company of California, an affiliate of Chevron US, hold 23.9% and 15.6% interest in the field, respectively.

The entire Mad Dog area is estimated to hold more than five billion barrels of oil equivalent (Bboe). The production capacity of the existing Mad Dog platform is up to 100,000 gross barrels of oil and 60 million gross cubic feet (MMcf) of natural gas per day.

BP estimates a production capacity of 140,000boe a day from the new development, Mad Dog Phase 2, which was brought on stream in April 2023.

Mad Dog Phase 2 project timeline

Initial development plans of the project involved a spar designed by Technip similar to the one used in Phase 1. The plan was scrapped in 2013 due to spiralling costs that were estimated to be $22bn.

A revised plan for the development of Mad Dog Phase 2 was submitted to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in August 2014, which received approval in March 2015. The new plan reduced the development cost to $14bn, which was further reduced to $9bn.

BP reached a final investment decision (FID) for developing the project in December 2016. BHP Billiton (now Woodside Energy) decided to spend a capital of $2.2bn for its share of the development of the Mad Dog Phase 2 project in February 2017. Chevron reached an FID for the project late in February 2017.

The construction of a new floating production platform, Argos, for the Mad Dog Phase 2 project started in South Korea in March 2018. The platform arrived in the US in April 2021.

Mad Dog Phase 2 development details

The Mad Dog Phase 2 development includes drilling 14 production wells and eight water injectors from five drill centres located in blocks 825 and 870.

The production and water injector wells are tied back to the Argos floating production unit (FPU), which is moored in 4,500ft deep water in the Green Canyon in block 780, approximately 10km south-west of the existing Mad Dog spar.

Argos is the fifth and the most digitally advanced platform to be operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. It weighs 60,000 tonnes (t) and has a production capacity of up to 140,000 gross barrels of crude oil per day (bpd).

The platform design was inspired by the BP-operated Atlantis semi-submersible platform that reduced the weight of the topsides to 25,000t. It also integrates the topside infrastructure with the jacket structure.

The Argos FPU features BP’s proprietary LoSal enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and dynamic digital twin technologies. It has a waterflood injection capacity of more than 140,000 barrels of low-salinity water per day to help increase oil recovery from the Mad Dog field.

Mad Dog Phase 1 development details

Phase 1 field development included a floating truss spar equipped with production and drilling facilities.

A third-party operator is the recipient of the oil and gas produced at the field, transported via the Caesar (oil) pipeline and the Cleopatra (gas) pipeline systems.

Contractors involved

FMC Technologies (now TechnipFMC) was contracted to manufacture and supply subsea equipment, including subsea trees, manifolds and jumpers.

KBR and its Swedish subsidiary GVA were contracted to provide pre-front-end engineering design (pre-FEED) and FEED services for the floating production platform for the project.

AMEC was selected to provide FEED services for the topside facilities of the project related to the spar concept.

Subsea 7 was awarded the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) of the subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF) and associated subsea architecture.

Subsea 7’s Subsea Integration Alliance partner, Schlumberger OneSubsea, was awarded the contract for the subsea production systems.

Samsung Heavy Industries was responsible for constructing the Argos floating production platform for the project. It subcontracted Wood Group to provide detailed engineering and procurement services for the platform’s topsides in March 2017.

Boskalis’ BOKA Vanguard heavy transport vessel was used to transport the Agros platform from its construction site in South Korea to Kiewit Offshore Services fabrication yard in Ingleside, Texas, US, in April 2021.

Project Group Consulting provided project management and personnel support services for the installation of a subsea fibre optic connection for the Argos platform.

Norway-based Geotechnical Institute (NGI) Houston provided laboratory testing and geotechnical design for the Mad Dog 2 production platform.

BP contracted industrial software company Kongsberg Digital to design and deliver a multi-purpose dynamic simulator (MPDS) digital twin solution for the Mad Dog 2 project.

Hamall Process Instruments supplied instrumentation, including pressure gauges, level gauges, radar levels, magnetic flow meters, pressure gauges, temperature transmitters and analytical equipment for the project.