July 9, 2011
By Simone Sebastian
Major oil discoveries and a multibillion dollar production investment in the Gulf of Mexico, announced by two oil giants Wednesday, are breathing life into the region after a months-long moratorium stalled offshore drilling.
Exxon Mobil Corp. revealed its discoveries, among the Gulf's largest ever, after its first post-moratorium deep-water exploratory well struck significant deposits of oil and some natural gas in its Keathley Canyon blocks about 250 miles southwest of New Orleans. The finds are expected to generate more than 700 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent, the company said.
Shell Oil, meanwhile, announced a $2.5 billion investment in infrastructure to extract oil and gas at its Cardamom field in deep waters of the Gulf 225 miles southwest of New Orleans. Shell expects the project to produce 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day at its peak and more than 140 million barrels over its life.
I do think it's indicative of the continuing importance of the Gulf of Mexico as a producing basin," said Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University.
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