Cobalt International Energy, Inc., an independent oil exploration and production company focusing on the deepwater US Gulf of Mexico and offshore Angola and Gabon, announced a significant oil discovery at its North Platte prospect on Garden Banks Block 959 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
Total is in a strategic alliance with Cobalt International Energy to explore for oil in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The North Platte discovery is the first Lower Tertiary Wilcox formation well drilled by the Alliance.
Based on extensive wireline evaluation, the discovery well encountered several hundred feet of net oil pay in multiple Inboard Lower Tertiary sands. Cobalt said that the well results were in line with pre-drill resource estimates of 400-850 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE) (mean-upside range) and net pay thickness of 350 feet (mean).
Total estimated that the discovery can have a potential of several hundred million barrels of oil. Further appraisal will be needed to confirm its size and commerciality, the company noted.
North Platte is located in approximately 4,400 feet (1,341 meters) of water and was drilled to a total depth of approximately 34,500 feet (10,516 meters). Cobalt first attempted to drill this prospect in May 2010, and had a rig on the North Platte well location preparing to spud when the Department of the Interior implemented the 2010 drilling moratorium in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, requiring Cobalt to move the rig off the well location.
Cobalt is the operator of North Platte and has a 60% working interest in the prospect. Total E&P USA is Cobalt’s partner in the discovery, with a 40% working interest.
In the Gulf of Mexico, Total also holds a 33.3% interest in the Chinook field, which is also located in the WiIcox formation reservoir, and a 17% interest in the Tahiti field. Total also holds a 25% interest in joint ventures with Chesapeake involved in the Utica and Barnett unconventional onshore resource plays. The Group’s production in the US was at 56,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2011.