BP, BHP Drill First Producing Wells at Atlantis Since Moratorium

BP Plc (BP/), whose Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico caused the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, is drilling the first producing wells at the region’s Atlantis field since a moratorium on deepwater operations was lifted almost two years ago.

The Atlantis and Mad Dog hubs are working again after months of repairs and maintenance, partner BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) said in a conference presentation published on its website today. Mark Salt, a spokesman for London-based BP, confirmed that the fields are operational and declined to comment on levels of production.

BP, the owner of the Macondo well that was the source of the 2010 explosion, has lost a third of its market value since the disaster. BP’s output in the Gulf of Mexico, some of the most profitable in its portfolio, has dropped since President Barack Obama banned deepwater drilling for months after the spill and BP instituted stricter safety standards.

Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley has said he wants to focus more on the Atlantis, Mad Dog, Thunder Horse and Na Kika fields in the Gulf. The company has six rigs working in the region and plans to have a record eight by the end of the year, Dudley said in July.

The Atlantis field, which is drilled using a mobile unit, has a capacity of 200,000 barrels of oil a day and 180 million cubic feet of gas, according to BP’s website. Mad Dog, where the company operates a platform, can produce 100,000 barrels of crude a day and 60 million cubic feet of gas.

BP reported a loss of $1.4 billion in the second quarter. Global output slipped 7.4 percent to 2.3 million barrels of oil equivalent a day.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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