US oil majors Anadarko and ExxonMobil have finalised a unitisation deal to develop the Lucius and South Hadrian fields in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico.
The deal includes portions of Keathley Canyon blocks 874, 875, 918 and 919 in the US Gulf.
Under the agreement, oil and gas produced from Hadrian South will be processed through the Lucius facility in return for a handling fee and reimbursement for any required facility upgrades, Anadarko said in a statement.
ExxonMobil spokeswoman Margaret Ross said the supermajor struck the deal with Anadarko "in order to bring these new domestic energy resources into production quickly".
She said the Lucius facility will produce about 100 million barrels of the 700-million-barrel Hadrian discovery.
ExxonMobil's portion of the agreement will be produced from the Keathley Canyon Block 919-3 discovery, Ross said.
Anadarko president and chief operating officer Al Walker said his company has already placed orders for long-lead items, including a truss spar floating production facility with a per-day capacity of more than 80,000 barrels of oil and 450 million cubic feet of gas.
Anadarko will operate the unit with a 35% working interest.
"As a result of these agreements, we expect Lucius to be among the most economically efficient projects in our portfolio,” Walker said, adding that he expects first oil to come in 2014.
Anadarko said an extended well test, which revealed production rates of more than 15,000 bpd, “provided additional confidence” in the field’s qualities and “indicated that Lucius can be developed with a minimal number of wells”.
Anadarko estimates Lucius holds more than 300 million barrels of oil equivalent.
A deal linking the Lucius and Hadrian South fields has been in the works for months. However, some observers believed ExxonMobil was hesitant to pull the trigger, hoping instead to develop Hadrian South in tandem with the company's large Hadrian North oil find.
ExxonMobil will assume a 15% working interest in the Lucius unit. Other co-owners include Plains Exploration & Production with a 23.3% interest, Apache with 11.7%, Petrobras with 9.6% and Eni with a 5.4% stake.