BP Unveils 'Giant' Oil Discovery in Gulf of Mexico

The discovery is larger than BP's Kaskida discovery in the same geological area three years ago, which contains around three billion barrels of oil.

BP announced on Sept. 2 a giant oil discovery at its Tiber Prospect (well) in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. "The Tiber well was drilled to a total depth of approximately 35,055 feet (10,685 meters) making it one of the deepest wells ever drilled by the oil and gas industry," the company said.

BP owns 62% stake in the well. Its co-owners are Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, with a 20% interest and U.S. group ConocoPhillips with 18%.

"Tiber represents BP's second material discovery in the emerging Lower Tertiary play in the Gulf of Mexico, following our earlier Kaskida discovery," said Andy Inglis, BP chief executive for Exploration and Production. "These material discoveries together with our industry leading acreage position support the continuing growth of our deepwater Gulf of Mexico business into the second half of the next decade."

The discovery is larger than BP's Kaskida discovery in the same geological area three years ago, which contains around three billion barrels of oil.

BP's discovery comes as the industry this week marks 150 years since crude was first drilled and days after Scottish group Cairn Energy began pumping out oil in India as exploration in the North Sea dwindles. On August 29 Cairn Energy began pumping crude from a vast oilfield in the Indian desert state of Rajasthan that is set to increase India's crude output by 20%. Cairn's field, the country's largest onland field and the biggest find in over two decades, will increase India's oil output by a fifth once it hits its initial peak production target of 175,000 barrels a day in 2011. This is in contrast to the North Sea, where expenditure on exploration was down 70% at the start of 2009 compared to a year earlier, according to industry body Oil & Gas UK.

BP is the biggest producer of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico with net production of more than 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, the company said. This could rise to 650,000 barrels daily within the next 15 years thanks to the Kaskida and Tiber wells.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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