Exxon scores discovery hat-trick in Gulf of Mexico

First post-moratorium exploration scores two oil, one gas reservoir

ExxonMobil's semi-submersible drilling rig. Picture Courtesy of Exxon.
ExxonMobil's semi-submersible drilling rig. Picture Courtesy of Exxon.

ExxonMobil Corporation today announced two major oil discoveries and a gas discovery in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico after drilling the company's first post-moratorium deepwater exploration well.

The drilling was ExxonMobil's first since US President Barack Obama imposed a six-month moratorium on further drilling following the Deepwater Horizon disaster and subsequent oil spill in 2010.

The world's largest publicly-traded oil & gas comapny struck a second oil accumulation in Keathley Canyon block 919, around 250 miles southwest of New Orleans in approximately 7,000 feet of water.

The well encountered more than 475 feet of net oil pay and a minor amount of gas in predominantly Pliocene high-quality sandstone reservoirs.

ExxonMobil say drilling continues at the well.

“We estimate a recoverable resource of more than 700 million barrels of oil equivalent combined in our Keathley Canyon blocks,” said Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company. "This is one of the largest discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico in the last decade. More than 85 percent of the resource is oil with additional upside potential."

“We plan to work with our joint venture partners and other lessees in the area to determine the best way to safely develop these resources as rapidly as possible,” Greenlee said.

Drilling in early 2010 encountered oil and natural gas at Hadrian North in KC919 and extending into KC918, with over 550 feet of net oil pay and a minor amount of gas in high-quality Pliocene and Upper Miocene sandstone reservoirs.

ExxonMobil encountered 200 feet of natural gas pay in Pliocene sandstone reservoirs at its Hadrian South prospect in Keathley Canyon block 964 during drilling in 2009.

Over the past decade, ExxonMobil has drilled 36 deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico in water ranging from 4,000 feet to 8,700 feet.

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