BHP's prime contractor for its $8 billion Trion ultra-deep water oil project in Mexico is scouring the market for a yard to build the hull of a 50,000-tonne semi-submersible production platform.

The widening of the market inquiry, triggered by geopolitical issues, is a critical part of the Australian operator's plan to have its Trion contracting strategy wrapped up by mid-2022 so that it can take a final investment decision later in the year, targeting first oil in 2025 or 2026.