SHELL, with Nexen, has made a major new oil strike in the deepwater sector of the eastern US Gulf of Mexico.
The Appomattox discovery was made in 2,200m (7,217ft) of water on Mississippi Canyon blocks 391 and 392 using Transocean’s Deepwater Nautilus semi-submersible drilling rig. It drilled to a total depth of 7,643m (25,077ft) and encountered about 162m (530ft) of oil pay.
An appraisal sidetrack was drilled to 7,910m (25,950ft) and encountered another 116m (380ft) of oil pay. Further appraisal drilling is to be carried out later this year.
This discovery builds on a successful 2009 exploration campaign in the US Gulf where Shell made discoveries at West Boreas, Vito and Cardamom Deep. Shell is the operator of Mississippi Canyon blocks 391 and 392 and the Appomattox discovery well, with 80% working interest, in partnership with Nexen, which holds the remaining 20%.
Shell made an initial discovery in the deepwater eastern Gulf of Mexico in 2003 with the Shiloh discovery (Shell 80%, Nexen 20%). A second find was made in 2007 at Vicksburg (Shell 75%, Nexen 25%), located about 10km (six miles) east of Appomattox.
The two companies are studying development options for the Appomattox and Vicksburg discoveries.