rig, an essential component in the development of the Thunder
Horse oil and gas field on Mississippi Canyon Block 778, about
150 miles southeast of New Orleans, was heeled over at an angle
of 20 to 30 degrees, the company said.
While too early to say what caused
the rig to lean, righting and repairing it could pose a costly
delay to BP's plans to bring the field on line later this year.
BP is operator on the Thunder
Horse field, holding a 75% stake in the project, with partner
Exxon Mobil Corp. holding the remaining 25%. The giant rig was
evacuated Friday as a precaution ahead of the storm, which slammed
ashore Sunday along the Florida-Alabama border.
The Thunder Horse platform
is among the world's biggest deepwater production platforms, designed
to process about 250,000 barrels of crude oil a day, 200 million
cubic feet of natural gas and accommodate a crew of 229.