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Thunder Horse: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Thunder Horse oilfield is a giant deepwater oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico, around 150 miles southeast of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The field is being developed by BP and 25% partner Exxon[1] It is the largest producer in the Gulf, processing in excess of 250,000 barrels (40,000 m3) of oil per day and 200 million cubic feet per day (5,700,000 m3/d) of natural gas, and is believed to hold in excess of 1 billion barrels of oil (160,000,000 m3).[2]

Originally called Crazy Horse, BP changed the name out of respect to descendants of the Native American warrior of the same name. The company said that it acted after the family of the Lakota warrior and spiritual leader told them that use of his name outside of a spiritual context is sacrilegious.[3]


Discovery and development

The Thunder Horse discovery well was drilled in 1999 on Mississippi canyon block 778. It was drilled to a depth of 25,770 feet (7,850 m) from the drillship Discoverer Enterprise, hitting three intervals of oil.

A second well was drilled in block 822, 1.5 miles (2.5 km) southeast of the initial discovery, reaching a depth of 29,000 feet (8,800 m) in November 2000 and also encountered three primary intervals of oil.

In February 2001 a new field known as Thunder Horse North was drilled in block 776, approximately 5 miles northwest of the original field. This well reached 26,000 feet (7,900 m) and again met three intervals of oil.[4]

Actually developing the field was a major technological challenge due to the depth of the find. Not only are the distances large, but at such depths the formations holding the hydrocarbons create pressures over 1,200 bars (120 MPa) and temperatures of 135 °C (275 °F). Prior to Thunder Horse, no field had ever been developed at such a depth.

Following lengthy delays caused by the need to repair and replace components in the subsea system (following a failure during pre-commissioning checks), "First oil" came on June 14, 2008. Since then, Thunder Horse has steadily ramped up its production by bringing on new wells. In March 2009, Thunder Horse produced over 300 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day from seven wells. Plans are in place to add two additional wells in 2009 to further develop the north end of the field.

In September 2009 BP announced that it had discovered a giant new oil field with its "Tiber" well; BP shares rose 3.7% on the news.[5]

Thunder Horse platform

Thunder Horse in the Gulf of Mexico on July 12, 2005, listing heavily after the passage of Hurricane Dennis.

The Thunder Horse production platform is the largest moored semi-submersible oil platform in the world, located in 1,920 meters (6,300 ft) of water in the Mississippi Canyon Block 778/822, about 150 miles (240 km) southeast of New Orleans.

Construction costs were around five billion USD,[6] and the platform is expected to operate for 25 years.

The hull section was constructed by DSME in South Korea and delivered in 2004 to Corpus Christi, Texas aboard MV Blue Marlin for completion.[7] Thunder Horse was completed at Kiewit Offshore Services in nearby Ingleside, Texas.

In July 2005, Thunder Horse was evacuated in the face of Hurricane Dennis. After the hurricane passed, the platform was listing badly. Inspection teams found no hull damage — Thunder Horse had not taken on water from a leak through its hull. Rather, an incorrectly plumbed, 6-inch length of pipe had allowed water to flow freely among several ballast tanks. That began a chain of events that caused the platform to tip into the water.[8] The event boosted world oil prices because of speculation of further oil shortages. The platform was fully righted about a week after Hurricane Dennis, but BP announced that commercial production had been delayed.[9] The platform was struck almost directly by Hurricane Katrina six weeks later, but was not damaged.

Initially envisaged to process at its peak 200 million cubic feet (5,700,000 m3) of natural gas and 250,000 barrels (40,000 m3) of oil equivalent per day, BP say that it is now exceeding that.

External links


See also



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