Thunder Horse platform
The Thunder Horse oil-drilling facility in the Gulf of Mexico is seen listing after Hurricane Dennis moved through the Gulf of Mexico.
updated 7/13/2005 5:26:05 PM ET 2005-07-13T21:26:05

BP worked Wednesday to right a $1 billion petroleum platform found listing in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Dennis.

A cause had not been determined, said BP spokesman Ronnie Chappell in Houston. On Tuesday, after power was restored and crews were able to board the Thunder Horse platform, information from data recorders was sent to the shore for analysis, Chappell said.

“It’s a history of the status of the equipment and actions taken by the operators, prior to the evacuation,” Chappell said. “It will also provide information on what happened on the vessel after the people were removed last week.”

Thunder Horse, the largest platform in the Gulf of Mexico, is the center of the Thunder Horse field, located about 150 miles southeast of New Orleans in about 6,000 feet of water. Until the accident, BP expected it to begin producing oil — as much as 240,000 barrels per day — in late 2005. Exxon Mobil Corp. is a partner in the project.

“It’s too early to say how this will impact the project’s schedule,” Chappell said Wednesday.

Oil production in the Gulf of Mexico totals about 1.5 million barrels per day.

Thunder Horse was evacuated Friday in anticipation of the hurricane. The listing platform was first noticed Monday by a passing ship. After that, BP and the Coast Guard set up a response center in Morgan City, La., near the Louisiana coast.

BP and the Coast Guard both said there has been no evidence of pollution. Robots were used to examine the platform’s hull, which showed no sign of damage, BP said.

Chappell would not speculate on how long it might take to right the platform, which was listing at about 20 degrees. Ballast pumps aboard the platform are operational, he said, and additional pumps are being brought in. The process of balancing the platform using water as ballast is similar to that used on ships, Chappell said.

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