BP, ConocoPhillips make big find in Gulf

Fuel Fix:
BP and ConocoPhillips said Wednesday they have made a significant oil discovery at the jointly owned Gila prospect in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico.

The Gila exploration well, about 300 miles southwest of New Orleans, is in nearly 5,000 feet of water and has total depth of more than 29,000 feet, pushing the boundaries of the latest offshore drilling technology with its high pressure and high temperature conditions.

The reservoir is BP’s third in the Paleogene system, where the company made its Kaskida and Tiber discoveries in 2006 and 2009. The Keathley Canyon, the site of the Gila discovery, was acquired in 2003. BP is the 80 percent owner and ConocoPhillips owns the remaining 20 percent share.

It is the fourth Paleogene find for ConocoPhillips, which also owns an 18 percent working interest in the Tiber, as well as a minority share in the Coronado and Shenandoah in the Gulf of Mexico’s Walker Ridge.

The companies plan to begin appraisal drilling to determine the size and commercial prospects for the discovery, but have already indicated that the find is ‘significant’.

Larry Archibald, senior vice president of exploration for ConocoPhillips, said the find shows the potential of the company’s conventional exploration program. “We have built a significant Gulf of Mexico deepwater acreage position and achieved success with discoveries at Tiber, Shenandoah, Coronado and Gila, validating our exploration strategy in the prolific Lower Tertiary trend,” he said.

BP says that regardless of the new discovery’s economics, it is another feather in the British company’s cap in the Gulf of Mexico, where it still battles the specter of the Macondo well explosion in 2010.
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This shows the potential of deep offshore wells and why we should be drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific areas.

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