BP has commenced production from the Thunder Horse South Expansion project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, further boosting output from one of the largest oil fields in the region.

The Thunder Horse South Expansion project, which has been completed ahead of schedule and $150m under budget, involved addition of a new subsea production system about two miles to the south of the existing Thunder Horse platform.

The expansion project is aimed at boost production at the facility by an estimated 50,000 gross barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Jointly owned by BP and ExxonMobil, the Thunder Horse platform has been designed to handle capacity of 250,000 gross barrels of oil and 200 million gross cubic feet per day of natural gas.

BP CEO Bob Dudley said: “Thunder Horse South Expansion – along with our recent approval of the $9bn Mad Dog Phase 2 platform – demonstrates that the U.S. Gulf of Mexico remains a key part of our global portfolio today and for many years to come.”

BP said that the project marks a step ahead in reaching its goal of adding 800,000 barrels of new production by the end of the decade. It also marks the first of several upstream start-ups planned by the end of 2017.

Dudley added: “These new projects, coupled with a series of recent agreements we’ve reached around the world, reflect the growing momentum across BP and clear progress in building a strong foundation for the future.”

BP owns and operates the Thunder Horse field with 75% interest while ExxonMobil owns the remaining interest.

In addition to Thunder Horse, BP currently operates three large production platforms including Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

Image: The Thunder Horse platform in Gulf of Mexico. Photo: courtesy of Andyminicooper/Wikipedia.