Na Kika, the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) project jointly owned by BP and Royal Dutch/Shell Group, achieved first production, the companies announced on Monday. At its peak, the project is expected to produce about 425 MMcf/d and 110,000 bbl, and ultimate production is expected to be nearly 300 MMboe.

Na Kika, which was developed initially by Shell, is located about 140 miles southeast of New Orleans. Five of the fields — Kepler, Ariel, Fournier, Herschel and East Anstey — now are being developed jointly, using a semisubmersible floating production platform that acts as a central hub. Without the hub, the fields would not be sufficiently profitable to develop individually, Shell said. Another field, Coulomb, is 100% owned by Shell and will be tied into the hub once capacity is available. BP will manage production going forward.

The companies also started up a 75-mile pipeline connection to move Na Kika’s gas to onshore markets through the Destin pipe system, Shell said. The Na Kika segment of pipe was built by Shell and is operated by BP.

BP, the largest leaseholder in the GOM, now has six major fields under development in the deepwater: Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Holstein, Horn Mountain, Mad Dog and Na Kika. BP holds a 50% or more interest in each of them and with the ramp up of Na Kika, operates all of the fields.

According to Andy Inglis, BP’s upstream group vice president, Mad Dog is expected to ramp up in early 2005, and Thunder Horse — considered one of the largest discoveries ever in the GOM — is “well on track” to be on line also in 2005 (see Daily GPI, Sept. 3). Thunder Horse also will feature the largest semisubmersible structure in the world. Another GOM discovery, Atlantis, is “on plan” to be ramped up in 2006.

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