ExxonMobil has started producing oil ahead of schedule at the Julia oilfield in the US Gulf of Mexico.
The project, which is located roughly 265 miles (426 km) southwest of New Orleans, started up under budget, the firm said in a press statement.
The first production well is now on line and a second well will start producing in the coming week, ExxonMobil said.
The Julia development is located in water depths of over 7,000 feet (2,134 metres). It was discovered in 2007 and comprises five leases in the Walker Ridge area of the Gulf.
ExxonMobil operates the field with a 50% stake. Norway’s Statoil holds the other 50% stake.
The initial development phase uses subsea tie-backs to the Chevron-operated Jack/St Malo production facility, which began producing oil in December 2014.
ExxonMobil said that the Maersk Viking drillship was currently drilling a third well at Julia, which is expected to come on line early next year.
The preliminary production results will help evaluate additional wells that are included in the initial development phase, which has a design capacity of 34,000 barrels per day, the company said.
“This initial production will provide ExxonMobil with insight into the potential future development of the reservoir,” said ExxonMobil Development’s president, Neil Duffin.
The company is planning to start up a total of 10 new upstream projects globally in 2016-17.
Those projects are expected to add 450,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of working interest production capacity.
The company said it was on track to start those projects up on schedule.
Julia is located in the Lower Tertiary play, which has only been producing over the past few years. Royal Dutch Shell is bringing Stones, another Lower Tertiary development with a production capacity of 50,000 boepd during the first phase, on line later this year.