Photo: BP's Argos platform and Boskalis BOKA Vanguard vessel; Source: BP

Offshore safety regulator inspects BP’s Argos platform

A U.S. government agency in charge of improving safety and ensuring environmental protection relating to the offshore energy industry has conducted a pre-production inspection of a BP platform slated for operation in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) inspectors and engineers concluded the three-day pre-production inspection on the Argos, BP’s new 60,000-ton platform, the agency said on Monday.

The pre-production inspection team’s goal is to verify that all safety equipment, components, and production processes aboard the structure have been constructed as planned, meet industry standards, and comply with federal regulations. BSEE’s on-site inspection is one of the steps required to clear the platform for sailing to its planned destination in the Gulf of Mexico, where it will be installed for production.

BSEE Production Engineer Marvin Montgomery, from the BSEE Houma District, inspects safety components during a pre-production inspection on the Argos
BSEE Production Engineer Marvin Montgomery, from the BSEE Houma District, inspects safety components during a pre-production inspection on the Argos. Source: BSEE

The inspection was conducted by a team of seven inspectors and engineers divided into two units, each simultaneously inspecting different areas of the facility for three consecutive days.

BSEE Houma District Manager, Amy Pellegrin, said: “During the pre-production inspection, we make certain that all safety devices are installed correctly and according to the facility drawings in the permit that BP originally submitted to BSEE”.

“BP will subsequently be required to make revisions as necessary”.

After the onshore pre-production process is complete, the Argos will move to the Green Canyon area of the Gulf within BP’s established Mad Dog Phase 2 field, about 190 miles south of New Orleans, at a water depth of approximately 4,500 feet.

After the Argos is moved to its permanent location, BSEE engineers and inspectors will perform an additional inspection before production can begin.

“These regulatory inspections help ensure that the Argos meets all environmental compliance and applicable safety rules, regulations and practices”, said Pellegrin.

Argos, a semi-submersible, floating production platform, will be BP’s fifth operated platform in the Gulf of Mexico – and the first new platform since Thunder Horse began production in 2008. 

The platform arrived at the Kiewit Offshore Services fabrication yard in Ingleside, Texas in mid-April 2021 following a 16,000-mile journey from South Korea.

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The hull and topsides of the Argos platform were built by Samsung Heavy Industries.

While in Texas, the Argos platform will undergo final preparatory work and regulatory inspections before heading offshore.

Following the work at Kiewit, Argos will be towed to its offshore home in the Gulf of Mexico and will be installed about six miles from the original Mad Dog spar, about 190 miles south of New Orleans, where it will operate in 4,500 feet of water.

The Argos platform is expected to begin production in early 2022 and produce up to 140,000 barrels of oil per day.