BP plc said it has struck oil at the Puma West prospect offshore Louisiana near its Mad Dog platform in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM). 

GOM production

The well in Green Canyon Block 821 was drilled by BP, operator and owner of the block, on behalf of co-owners Chevron U.S.A. Inc. and Talos Energy Inc., each with a 25% stake.

“We are very excited about this discovery as well as the broader potential in this area,” Talos CEO Timothy S. Duncan said. “Puma West is a great example of the class of high impact catalyst opportunities still available in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. 

“Advancements in seismic technology, operational efficiency and safety at these depths, combined with ample available infrastructure, support robust project economics,” he said. The advancements also provide “material domestic energy resources to consumers with a small environmental footprint.”

The well, west of the BP-operated Mad Dog field and platform, is 131 miles off the Louisiana coast in 4,108 feet of water. Total depth for the well is 23,530 feet. 

“Our resilient and focused hydrocarbons business is core to BP’s strategy, and in the Gulf of Mexico we invest and explore in the reservoirs we know best,” said BP Senior Vice President Starlee Sykes, who oversees Gulf of Mexico and Canada operations.

“We are using our seismic expertise and drilling capability to safely find and develop advantaged oil and gas. We look forward to evaluating the potential of this discovery and its competitiveness across BP’s global portfolio.”

The Puma West prospect encountered pay in a Miocene reservoir with fluid properties “similar to productive Miocene reservoirs in the area,” BP noted. “Preliminary data supports the potential for a commercial volume of hydrocarbons.”

Green Canyon long has held BP’s interest. In last November’s federal offshore lease sale, BP Exploration & Production Inc. had the second-highest bid of the day with an offer of $7.3 million for a block in Green Canyon

Among the prized Green Canyon oil and gas fields is Atlantis, also operated by BP. In addition, the Marco Polo field is in Green Canyon, along with the Manatee, Shenzi, Droshky and Tahiti prospects.

Including Mad Dog, BP now operates four large production platforms in the region — Thunder Horse, Atlantis and Na Kika. It also has stakes in four nonoperated hubs — Mars, Mars B, Ursa and Great White. 

In 2019 BP launched a major water injection project in the Thunder Horse field to recover another 65 million boe. A Thunder Horse South Expansion project also is underway, which would add a subsea drill center roughly two miles from the platform.

[Natural Gas 101: Tune into NGI’s Hub & Flow podcast and catch an insightful interview with Charles Blanchard, the author of the recently published “The Extraction State: A History of Natural Gas in America.”]

Separately, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is forecasting domestic oil production from federal waters of the GOM will increase in the next two years. According to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, by the end of 2022, 13 new projects could account for about 12% of total GOM oil production, or about 200,000 b/d.

“The GOM accounts for 15-16% of U.S. crude oil production,” EIA principal contributors Kirby Lawrence and Corrina Ricker said. “In 2020, GOM crude oil production averaged 1.65 million b/d. Production is forecast to exceed 2020 levels, reaching 1.71 million b/d in 2021 and 1.75 million b/d in 2022. Since 2000, the highest crude oil production year was 2019 at 1.9 million b/d.”