LOCAL

BP increases deepwater drilling rigs in Gulf of Mexico

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

HOUSTON – British Petroleum recently announced it has added two drilling rigs to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, bringing its fleet to a company record nine rigs in the U.S. offshore basin.

One of the rigs is a new ultra-deepwater drillship known as the West Auriga that is under long-term contract to BP from Seadrill Ltd, a leading international offshore drilling contractor. The vessel, capable of operating in up to 12,000 feet of water, has begun development-drilling work at BP's Thunder Horse field.

The other is a reconstructed drilling rig on BP's Mad Dog oil and gas production platform. It replaces the original rig on the platform that was badly damaged and left inoperable by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

BP currently anticipates investing on average at least $4 billion in the Gulf of Mexico each year for the next decade.

The BP operated Macondo Prospect was the site of The Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began in April 2010 with a blowout that claimed 11 lives and flowed for 87 days. The total discharge is estimated at 4.9 million barrels.

Due to the months-long spill, along with adverse effects from the response and cleanup activities, extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, fishing and tourism industries, and human health problems have continued through 2013.