BP’s Argos platform arrives in Texas, US. (Credit: BP p.l.c.)
Argos platform has a gross production capacity of up to 140,000 barrels of oil per day. (Credit: BP p.l.c.)
The Mad Dog Phase 2 project began production in April 2023 from the Argos offshore facility. (Credit: BP p.l.c.)

The Mad Dog Phase 2 project involved the development of southern and southwestern extension of the Mad Dog Field in Gulf of Mexico.

Mad Dog project is operated by BP with 60.5% interest. Other partners include Woodside Energy (23.9%) and Chevron USA-affiliate Union Oil Company of California (15.6%).

BP reached a final investment decision (FID) for the development of the Mad Dog Phase 2 in December 2016.

The project began production in April 2023 from the Argos offshore facility, BP’s fifth platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Argos platform has a gross production capacity of up to 140,000 barrels of oil per day. It is expected to gradually ramp up production throughout 2023 boosting BP’s gross operated production capacity in the Gulf of Mexico by nearly 20%.

Location details

The Mad Dog field is located offshore in the Southern Green Canyon area of the Gulf of Mexico. The site lies nearly 190miles south of New Orleans, Louisiana, the US.

Water depth in the region ranges between approximately 1,370m and 2,200m.

Situated around 200miles south of New Orleans, Argos platform is the centrepiece of Mad Dog Phase 2 project. The semi-submersible floating production unit is moored in 4,500ft of water, around 10km southwest of the existing Mad Dog platform.

Mad Dog Project Background

The Mad Dog offshore field was first discovered in 1998. It commenced production in 2005 through the Mad Dog production spar.

In Phase I of the Mad Dog project, the production is processed through a subsea truss spar, Spar A.

The oil extracted from the Mad Dog field is transported to Ship Shoal 332B via the Caesar pipeline and then transported internally in the US through Cameron Highway Oil Pipeline System.

The gas from the project is transported to Ship Shoal 332A through the Cleopatra pipeline and then to the Manta Ray Gathering System and the Nautilus Gas Transportation System into Louisiana. The Phase I production capacity is 100,000bbl/d oil and 60 MMscf/d gas handling.

Appraisal drilling executed during 2009 and 2011 increased the resource estimate of Mad Dog field to more than 5 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bboe).

The new oil reserves discovered are outside the reach of the existing Spar drilling rig, creating the need for a new platform.

Mad Dog Phase 2 details

The Mad Dog Phase 2 project was approved by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in 2015. It entailed an investment of around $9bn.

The project comprised the delivery of a new semi-submersible floating production unit (FPU) named Argos.

The 60,000 tonne-platform has a height of 27 storeys, and features a deck with length and width of an American football field.

Argos is also BP’s most digitally advanced platform operational in the Gulf of Mexico, equipped with LoSal Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and Dynamic Digital Twin technologies.

It has a waterflood injection capacity of more than 140,000 barrels of low-salinity water per day, a capability that will help in increasing oil recovery from the Mad Dog field.

The platform also has Dynamic Digital Twin software that links the complex data collected from the Argos platform to 3D digital models enabling remote operators access data in real time using Virtual Reality headsets. This facilitates decision-making, efficiency and safety.

The Phase 2 development plan includes 14 production wells and eight water injectors.

Argos will produce crude oil from the production wells through a subsea production system. It will export oil and gas using existing pipeline infrastructure.

The production capacity for the Phase 2 project is estimated to be 140,000 bbl/d oil and 75 MMscf/d gas.

Contractors Involved

In April 2012, Technip secured a front-end engineering design (FEED) contract from BP to design a Spar hull and mooring systems for the Mad Dog Phase 2 Project.

NGI Houston offered specialised laboratory testing and geotechnical design of Mad Dog Phase 2’s platform. The company also conducted an integrated geohazard study including slope stability and risk analyses at Mad Dog 2 prospect when it was associated with the Mad Dog development in 2011-2012.

In March 2013, FMC Technologies won the contract to manufacture and supply subsea equipment including subsea trees, manifolds, and jumper equipment for the development.

US-based engineering company KBR provided pre-front end engineering design (pre-FEED) and FEED engineering services related to the semi-submersible platform.

In 2017, BP contracted Subsea Integration Alliance for a technical solution to integrate subsea production systems (SPS) with subsea umbilical, riser, and flowline (SURF) services.

The Argos floating production unit (FPU) platform was built over three years from 2018-2021 by BP and contractor Samsung Heavy Industries in Geoje, South Korea. The platform was shipped to the US onboard the Boskalis BOKA Vanguard heavy transport vessel.

At the Kiewit Offshore Services fabrication yard in Ingleside, Texas, Argos underwent final preparatory work and regulatory inspections before it was moved offshore.

In 2018, Kongsberg Digital was awarded a contract by BP to design, engineer, build, install, and perform acceptance testing of a custom-built multi-purpose dynamic simulator (MPDS) for the Mad Dog Phase 2 project.

ROCKWOOL Technical Insulation supplied lightweight SeaRox FB 6000 A60 insulation for the project.

Subsea 7 was awarded a contract for engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) of the subsea umbilicals, risers, and flowlines (SURF) and associated subsea architecture.  The company’s subsea integration alliance partner, Schlumberger OneSubsea, received the Subsea Production Systems contract.

Project Group Consulting, a process engineering company, was engaged to provide project management assistance and subject matter expertise to the Mad Dog Phase 2 team for the installation of fibre optic sub-sea cable connection for the Argos platform.