Hess. Corp., operator and partial owner of the Stampede oil and natural gas project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM), will move forward with the project and expects it to begin production in 2018, the company said Thursday.

The announcement comes nine years after discovery of the Stampede Field, which is about 115 miles south of Fourchon, LA, in Green Canyon Blocks 465, 511 and 512. It was formed by unitizing the former discoveries of Knotty Head and Pony. Hess said the field is in approximately 3,500 feet of water with a reservoir depth of 30,000 feet. Total estimated recoverable resources are 300-350 million boe, Hess said.

“The plan initially calls for six subsea production wells and four water injection wells from two subsea drill centers tied back to a Tension Leg Platform,” Hess said. “A two-rig drilling program is planned with the first rig commencing operations in the fourth quarter of 2015.” Gross topsides processing capacity for the project is about 80,000 b/d of oil and 100,000 barrels of water injection capacity per day.

Hess, Norway’s state-owned Statoil ASA, Chevron subsidiary Union Oil Co. of California and Nexen Petroleum Offshore U.S.A. Inc. each have a 25% working interest in the $6 billion Stampede project.

“This field has a long production life capable of generating a consistent high volume of valuable barrels,” said Jason Nye, senior vice president of Statoil’s U.S. offshore business.

Statoil’s U.S. offshore business includes production from Caesar Tonga and Tahiti in the GOM, and it has ownership in several large fields scheduled to start production over the next few years: Jack & St. Malo (25% and 21.5%, respectively), Big Foot (27%); Heidelberg (12%), Julia (50%) and Vito (30%).

At the beginning of 2014, Hess said it would devote $550 million of its $5.8 billion capital expenditures for the year to production and development projects in the deepwater GOM (see Daily GPI, Jan. 24). Of that amount, $400 million was earmarked to develop and start up the Tubular Bells Field (see Daily GPI, Jan. 27, 2012; Oct. 26, 2011), and $150 million was slated to drill two production wells and one water injection well in the Shenzi oil and gas field, located 125 miles from the coast of Louisiana (see Daily GPI, Jan. 17, 2012).