BP Plc announced today that its Thunder Horse field in the Gulf of Mexico will probably not begin production until mid 2008. In a statement it was revealed that metallurgical failure was evident in components of the subsea system.

The failure was discovered after prolonged and rigorous testing beyond the normal industry standard tests and regulatory requirements. The extra testing was carried out as a precaution.

BP has consequently decided to retrieve and replace all the subsea components which it believes could be at risk. The work will be done over the next year and so production at Thunder Horse is not expected to begin until 2008.

According to a statement it is too early to estimate the additional costs of replacing the affected systems.