) along with its partner
) has made a huge find at its Gila prospect, in the deepwater
U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GoM).
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The discovery represents the first major find by BP since the
massive rig outburst that caused the worst environmental tragedy
in the U.S. history. After the Macondo well blowout, the U.S.
regulators lifted a five-month ban on deepwater drilling in 2010.
The latest find is the third discovery in recent years in the
emerging Paleogene trend in the Gulf. The previous finds were
Kaskida in 2006 and Tiber in 2009.
BP hit oil at depths of around 9,150 meters (30,000 feet) in the
Gila prospect by an exploration well on Keathley Canyon Block 93,
about 300 miles southwest of New Orleans, in around 4,900 feet of
The well, which infiltrated multiple Paleogene-aged reservoir
sands, was drilled to a total depth of 29,221 feet. In order to
establish the size and potential viability of the find, appraisal
drilling including completion of drilling through the Paleocene
section, is necessary.
Located about 25 miles west of Tiber, the Gila discovery is
operated by BP with a majority interest of 80%, while the
remaining 20% is held by ConocoPhillips. The find is situated in
the Keathley Canyon area. The lease for Keathley Canyon Block 93
was obtained in the Western Gulf of Mexico Lease OCS Sale 187 in
BP and its subsidiaries have been exploring in the deepwater GoM
since the 1950s. The U.K. giant expects its deepwater segment to
form an integral part of its business goal as it is the largest
leaseholder in the GoM region, with stakes in more than 650
leases. In the deepwater GoM region, BP has seven rigs drilling
this year, up from five rigs until recently.
BP carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in
the oil and gas sector include
Abraxas Petroleum Corp.
). All these stocks hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).