Photo: Thunder Hawk FPU; Source: SBM Offshore

More offshore acreage and new operatorship in Gulf of Mexico for U.S. player

Houston-headquartered offshore energy services provider Helix Energy Solutions has bolstered decommissioning work and end-of-life reserves as part of its energy transition model by securing further production and plug and abandonment (P&A) work through the acquisition of interest and operatorship in a field in the Gulf of Mexico.

Helix revealed on Monday that its wholly owned subsidiary, Deepwater Abandonment Alternatives (DAA), has acquired from MP Gulf of Mexico (MP GOM) – a joint venture controlled by Murphy Exploration & Production company – its entire 62.5 per cent interest in Mississippi Canyon Block 734.

Owen Kratz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helix, remarked: “This acquisition furthers Helix’s energy transition business model by taking on decommissioning obligations in exchange for production revenues. We have long communicated our unique position as a qualified offshore field operator that can also assume and efficiently discharge decommissioning obligations.”

As explained by Helix, this acquisition entails three wells and related subsea infrastructure, collectively known as the Thunder Hawk field. Under the terms of the deal, Helix receives the benefit of ownership of MP GOM’s interest with an effective date of 1 November 2021, in exchange for the assumption of abandonment obligations at the Thunder Hawk field.

Furthermore, aside from the anticipated future production revenue, Deepwater Abandonment Alternatives will operate the Thunder Hawk field and Helix is eventually expected to perform the required plug and abandonment operations.

“We continue to pursue opportunities that enable us to enhance and extend the life of existing reserves and safely perform the related decommissioning of the infrastructure, in transactions that allow producers to remove non-core assets from their balance sheets. Following on from the past successful acquisition of our Droshky properties, we are excited to build upon this model with the acquired interest in the Thunder Hawk field,” added Kratz.

Located in the Mississippi Canyon block 734 in the Gulf of Mexico, 150 miles southeast of New Orleans, in water depths of 1,745 metres (5,724 ft), the Thunder Hawk field was discovered in 2004 and sanctioned in 2006. Along with Thunder Bird and Thunder Ridge, this field is on the edge of the Boarshead Basin and lies close to the BP-operated Thunder Horse field.

Back in 2008, Murphy Oil contracted SBM Offshore for a five-year lease of a semisubmersible floating production unit (FPU) for the development of the Thunder Hawk field and the Thunder Hawk DeepDraft Semi(TM) started processing production from this field on 8 July 2009.

When it comes to Helix’s most recent activities, it is worth noting that the U.S.-headquartered player completed the acquisition of Louisiana-based, privately-held Alliance group of companies in July 2022.

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This acquisition enabled Helix to expand its decommissioning presence in the Gulf of Mexico and advance its environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives by “responsibly supporting end-of-life requirements of oil and gas projects.”