|Thunder Horse after Dennis|
The giant Thunder Horse semi-submersible rig, owned 75% by BP and 25% by ExxonMobil, is listing at an angle of 20–30 degrees in the aftermath of the passage of Hurricane Dennis through the Gulf of Mexico.
Due to come online later this year, the Thunder Horse rig is currently the largest Production Drilling Quarters (PDQ) semi-submersible drilling platform in the world. Weighing more than 59,500 metric tons, it is designed to produce some 250,000 barrels of oil per day and 200 mmcf of natural gas per day from the deepwater Thunder Horse field.
The cause of the listing is currently unknown. BP had evacuated the Thunder Horse platform of all personnel on Friday in anticipation of the hurricane’s approach. At this time there has been no known release of any fuel or hazardous substances.
The rig, designed to drill in 6,050 feet of water, has consistently been one of the company’s major talking points as it looks ahead to developing new production resources. The additional delays that will now inevitably occur as the company figures out what went wrong and rights the problems and damage will likely be costly and time-consuming.
And we’re still relatively early into what is shaping up to be a fierce hurricane season.