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BP TO SPEND $340 MILLION ON NEW U.S. OIL FIELD

 CLEVELAND, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- British Petroleum (NYSE: BP) announced today that it is to spend some $340 million developing its share of the first phase of the Mars oil and gas field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
 Mars, discovered by Shell and BP in 1989, lies in Mississippi Canyon Block 763 some 130 miles south-west of New Orleans. Shell estimates the reserves are in excess of 700 million barrels of oil and gas equivalent.
 First phase production is scheduled to begin in late 1996 and will reach a daily peak of 100,000 barrels of oil and 110 million cubic feet of gas.
 The field, operated by Shell, with BP holding a 28.5 percent interest, will set a new depth record for the Gulf of Mexico. Phase 1 is being developed using a tension leg platform (TLP) installed in 2,933 feet of water with 24 integral well-slots and two subsea satellite wells.
 The TLP was the most economical of more than a dozen alternative schemes, significantly reducing the development cost of Phase 1 to $1.2 billion.
 The first phase will develop some 500 million barrels of oil equivalent. The partners said they will consider a second stage of development to reach outlying sections of the field, after the first phase has been operating for two to three years.
 BP Exploration Chief Executive John Browne described the project as "a major example of how the oil industry is applying innovative engineering and technology to develop oil and gas reserves cost- effectively in water depths and areas hitherto unthinkable. It will undoubtedly have valuable applications both elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico and in other parts of the world," he added.
 Browne said: "We believe the Mars development is part of an exciting new phase in the history of the Gulf of Mexico. Given the right conditions for investment, the area carries great potential for further exploration and development."
 BP Exploration currently has interests in 314 federal leases in the Gulf of Mexico, with 282 in deep-water areas.
 -0- 10/5/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Koch (media), 216-586-6511, or Terry LaMore (investors), 216-586-6220, both of BP America/
 (BP)


CO: British Petroleum ST: Ohio IN: OIL SU:

AR -- CL013 -- 8792 10/05/93 10:33 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 5, 1993
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