The 11-year-old Na Kika platform in the deepwaters of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has ramped up the third phase of its program, with one well in operation and a second scheduled within the next few months, operator BP plc said Monday.

Royal Dutch Shell plc owns a half-stake in Na Kika, a massive development in Mississippi Canyon Block 474 that initially ramped up in late 2003 (see Daily GPI, Dec. 3, 2003). The development,  about 140 miles south of New Orleans, includes four jointly owned fields now in operation, as well as various three-party producer fields that feed into the platform.

Phase three is BP's third new upstream project to begin operation this year, following the Chirag Oil startup in Azerbaijan and the Shell-operated Mars B project also in the deepwater GOM (see Daily GPI, Feb. 4). BP now has 10 operating rigs in the deepwater GOM, a record for the company and the U.S. offshore.

"The Na Kika Phase 3 project demonstrates BP's ongoing commitment to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and highlights our portfolio's ability to unlock value for investors while also delivering vital energy resources to the United States," BP GOM Regional President Richard Morrison said.

BP has three more upstream projects scheduled to begin operations through the rest of 2014.

Na Kika was the first semi-submersible in the GOM; it has the largest onboard oil storage facility in the deepwater Gulf, with dead-oil displacement for hydrate prevention. The platform, with a design life of 20 years, is in 6,340 feet of water.