(WVUE) - Nearly seven years after the Gulf oil spill, BP announced it has started up its huge Thunder Horse South Expansion project in deepwater.
The company announced it is expected to boost production in what is already one of the largest oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico by 50,000 barrels per day.
The expansion "demonstrates that the U.S. Gulf of Mexico remains a key part of our global portfolio today and for many years to come," BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said in a statement.
"This project also marks the first of several major upstream start-ups expected before the end of this year and a major step toward our goal of adding 800,000 barrels of new production by 2020," Dudley said.
BP said the project was completed nearly a year ahead of schedule and 15 percent below budget.
The Thunder Horse Expansion project adds a new subsea production system roughly two miles south of the existing Thunder Horse platform. The system is a collection point for wells connected to the Thunder Horse platform by two 11,000-foot flow lines installed on the seabed in late 2016.
BP remains the largest investor in deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico.
It operates Thunder Horse with ExxonMobil serving as a 25 percent investment partner in the project.
The Thunder Horse Field was discovered in 1999 and remains one of BP's largest discoveries in the Gulf, the company said.
Since the Deepwater Horizon blowout in April of 2010, most of the media attention toward BP has focused on the accident, the resulting leak and its effects on local economies and the environment.
However, BP said it has invested over $90 billion in the U.S. in the past decade, "more than any other energy company."
BP said it employs 14,000 people across the U.S. and "supports more than 130,000 additional jobs through all of its business activities."