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From CNN -

BP Plc said Monday it does not expect production from its Thunder Horse field in the Gulf of Mexico to begin before the middle of 2008 due to new technical glitches, adding to a recent spate of problems at the oil major.

The company had originally scheduled start-up for the end of 2005, and this latest slippage will make it harder for BP (up $0.53 to $65.39, Charts) to hit production growth targets in the coming years.

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The delay will also call BP's skills at overseeing complex projects into question at a time when its management of Alaskan oil fields and pipelines is the subject of intense scrutiny.

BP said in a statement that tests carried out over the past four months revealed metallurgical failure in components of the subsea system and that it now "plans to retrieve and rebuild all the sea-bed production equipment" from Thunder Horse.

BP also said "it was too early to estimate the additional costs involved in replacing the affected systems."

Thunder Horse's manifolds were manufactured by FMC Technologies (down $1.49 to $53.55, Charts) in the United States, which also built the manifolds for the Atlantis project - similarly sized to Thunder Horse and due to start up early next year.

BP's U.S. output has already been severely hit in recent months by the shutdown of large parts of its Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska after the discovery of leaking wells and pipelines.

The Alaska problems and a fatal explosion at a Texas refinery last year have led to a series of investigations by regulators, lawmakers and law enforcement agencies.

Thunder Horse has been repeatedly delayed, but, as of late July, BP still expected production to begin in the middle of 2007.

The facility is designed to process 250,000 barrels of oil and 200 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. It is expected to be the biggest producer in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico when it comes online.

BP owns 75 percent of the project, and Exxon Mobil Corp. (Charts) owns the balance.


Another comment I saw in a newspaper over the weekend is that Shell have overtaken BP as the biggest oil firm worldwide.

Rushie
 

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Rushie,
I also saw an article this week that Bob Malone, Head of BP Shipping, had been drafted in to sort out the problems of the parent company. Not sure how true this is.
Kind regards,
John.
 

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Malim Sahib Moderator
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Bob Malone (another yank) transferred over from BP Shipping to BP America "coincidentally" just before the news broke about Alaska.
The only people sad to see him go were those in the office who didn't have enough time to withdraw their heads from his posterior, but that's a whole other rant!
 
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