Ahead of schedule, Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corp. and its partners have achieved first production from the first of three subsea wells in the Gunnison field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The other wells are expected to ramp up by year’s end, with daily production from all three projected at 5,000 bbl/d and 125 MMcf/d by mid-January.

Production is expected to ramp up to a peak rate of about 30,000 bbl/d and 180 MMcf/d by the end of 2004 when seven dry-tree wells are completed. The Kerr-McGee Corp. affiliate operates Gunnison and holds a 50% interest in the project. Nexen Inc. has a 30% interest, and Cal-Dive International Inc. holds a 20% stake.

The Gunnison facility, named the Kerr-McGee Global Producer VII, is the company’s third truss spar system, located in 3,150 feet of water in Garden Banks block 668. The Gunnison field covers blocks 667, 668 and 669, and was developed within budget and ahead of schedule. First production was achieved less than 26 months after the development was sanctioned. The Gunnison facility has daily processing capacity of 40,000 bbl and 200 MMcf.

Dave Hager, Kerr-McGee senior vice president responsible for oil and gas exploration and production, said the project’s success to date has relied on the use of the truss spar, which is similar to the spars used at the company’s Nansen and Boomvang developments in the GOM. He said the spar reduced development costs and accelerated first production, which “enhances operating efficiencies and provides excess capacity for future satellite developments in the greater Gunnison area.”

Kerr-McGee holds interests in more than 40 blocks in the greater Gunnison area and expects to drill two to four satellites in the area in the next year.

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