The Herschel Expansion project is a phased subsea tieback development of three deepwater oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico, US.

BP is the operator of the expansion project with a 50% stake, while the remaining 50% stake is owned by Shell, earlier known as Royal Dutch Shell.

The deepwater project involves subsea tieback of the Herschel wells to the existing Na Kika floating production platform to be carried out in phases.

The Herschel Expansion project commenced operations in February 2022, following the completion of the phase one development that included the installation of a new subsea production system and the tieback of the first well.

At full capacity, the first well is estimated to increase the production of the Na Kika platform by 10,600 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boed).


The Herschel Expansion field is located in the Mississippi Canyon block 520, southeast of the Na Kika platform in the Gulf of Mexico, US. The water depth in the field area is around 6,700 feet (ft).

Block 520 is situated approximately 109km off the coast of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.

Herschel Expansion development details

The Herschel Expansion project involves drilling of three wells, installation of subsea infrastructure and tieback to the Na Kika platform.

Under the phase one of the project, a BP-operated well was tied back to the Na Kika platform, located northwest of the well. The well was drilled to a total depth of around 19,000ft.

The phase one of the Herschel Expansion project was originally expected to start operations in late-June 2022. The remaining two wells are expected to be drilled in the coming years and the development provides scope for tie-in of additional wells in the future.

The Herschel wellstream is exported to the Na Kika platform through an extended Manuel high-pressure flowline system.

The Manuel oil project is a two-well tieback to Na Kika through a single riser and flowline.

Herschel Expansion infrastructure details

The subsea infrastructure of the Herschel Expansion project includes a manifold, a pipeline end termination (PLET), rigid well jumpers and an in-field umbilical.

The Herschel umbilical is connected to the Manuel umbilical for transport of chemicals and hydraulics as well as for transmission of power and communication.

Na Kika platform details

Na Kika is a semi-submersible platform located in the Gulf of Mexico, around 225km southeast of New Orleans, US. The water depth in the area is about 6,340ft.

BP and Shell hold a 50% stake each in the platform that commenced production in 2003. The platform serves as a production hub for eight subsea fields and consists of more than 161km infield flowlines.

Ariel, Kepler and Fourier fields are the subsea field tiebacks to the Na Kika platform. The tiebacks also include the Manuel oil project that commenced production in June 2021.

Na Kika has an oil processing capacity of 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) and a gas processing capacity of 550 million cubic feet per day.

The 18in-diameter, 129km-long Na Kika pipeline transports oil from the Na Kika platform to the Delta Pipeline at Main Pass 69 platform. The Okeanos pipeline exports gas from the Na Kika platform to the Main Pass 260 platform, from where the Destin pipeline transports the gas to shore.

Contractors involved

Subsea Integration Alliance, a partnership between Subsea 7 and OneSubsea, was awarded a contract as part of the subsea production system (SPS) and subsea umbilical, risers and flowline (SURF) scope for the Herschel development project.

Other BP Gulf of Mexico projects

BP is currently the operator of four big production platforms in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico namely Na Kika, Thunder Horse, Atlantis and Mad Dog. Argos, a semi-submersible floating production platform, part of the Mad Dog Phase Two project is expected to start operations in 2022.