On Tuesday, British Petroleum (a/k/a BP, or “Beyond Petroleum”) announced a large oil discovery at its Tiber Prospect in the Lower Tertiary trend, deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The new field could rank as BP’s top property in the Gulf.
To put the engineering achievement in perspective, imagine what it takes to make a hole in the ground that is deeper than the height of Mount Everest, but in water that is over 4,000 feet deep.
The well, located in Keathley Canyon block 102, approximately 250 miles (400 kilometres) south east of Houston, is in 4,132 feet (1,259 metres) of water. The Tiber well was drilled to a total depth of approximately 35,055 feet (10,685 metres) making it one of the deepest wells ever drilled by the oil and gas industry.
Note that British Petroleum owns 62% of the well and President Obama’s favorite oil company, Petrobras*, owns 20%. An American-based company, Conoco-Phillips, owns the remaining 18%. Hooray for the home team!
BP needs to invest years of work and millions of dollars [S/B Billions of dollars! – ed.] before it draws the first drop of oil from Tiber. Such long waits are not uncommon. Three years after announcing a discovery at a site in the Gulf called Kaskida, BP has yet to begin producing oil there.
Projects like the Tiber well will not reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil, which continues to grow. But new technology does permit access to major oil finds closer to U.S. shores.
BP expects Tiber to be among the company’s richest finds in the Gulf, on par with its crown jewel, the Thunder Horse development. Thunder Horse produces about 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, half as much crude as Alaska’s North Slope.
* Favorite, that is, with the possible exception of Venezuela’s PdVSA.