The BP logo and stock chart are seen in this illustration taken May 1, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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HOUSTON, May 2 (Reuters) – Oil giant BP (BP.L) plans to double crude output from its Thunder Horse project in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and inaugurate its latest oil production platform. ‘by the end of the year,’ a company executive said on Monday.

The company, which is betting on the exploration and production of “low-carbon and more economical” offshore oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico, said a lack of oil investment around the world could lead to a oil shortage.

“More oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico helps improve emissions globally,” Starlee Sykes, BP’s senior vice president for the Gulf of Mexico and Canada, said at Offshore Technology. Conference (OTC) in Houston.

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“We will continue to explore for oil, mainly near current hubs,” she added.

BP expects to produce around 200,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent by the end of the year, compared to 100,000 boepd currently for its Thunder Horse project.

BP is also preparing to start up its fifth operated platform, Argos, the centerpiece of the company’s $9 billion Mad Dog 2 project in the Gulf this year. The submersible platform is expected to increase BP’s oil production in this region by 25%, from 300,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Argos arrived in the US Gulf earlier this year after delays caused by logistics during the pandemic and weather events. The executive declined to specify in which quarter production will begin.

BP announced in September the start of the Phase 2 expansion of Thunder Horse South to increase production from one of the largest fields in the Gulf of Mexico, and said a total of eight wells would be drilled to increase oil and gas production at around 400,000 boepd by the mid-2020s.

More than 1,800 rigs in the US Gulf of Mexico, the country’s main offshore source of oil and gas, produced 1.7 million bpd of crude in 2021, mostly from deepwater fields , according to official data.

BP sees natural gas as a “key transition fuel” to move away from crude and other fossil fuels, as well as offshore wind, carbon capture projects, biofuels and hydrogen, said the executive.

“If we are going to move to a place where we have less hydrocarbon production, we will need all (these) solutions,” she said.

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Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar and Sabrina Valle, writing by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Barbara Lewis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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