BP Plc has hit oil pay at the Puma West prospect in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, proving the mature petroleum province has more to give.

Drilled to a total depth of 23,530 ft just 15 miles west of the BP-operated Mad Dog Field, the well encountered high-quality Miocene reservoir with preliminary data supporting the find’s potential commerciality, according to BP.

“We are using our seismic expertise and drilling capability to safely find and develop advantaged oil and gas,” Starlee Sykes, senior vice president of BP’s Gulf of Mexico and Canadian operations, said in a news release April 13. “We look forward to evaluating the potential of this discovery and its competitiveness across bp’s global portfolio. I’m proud of our team for delivering this project—especially during a global pandemic.”

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s weekly deepwater activity report showed the well was being drilled by Diamond Offshore Drilling’s Ocean BlackHornet drillship.

Plans are now for BP and partners Chevron Corp. and Talos Energy to devise an appraisal program to better define the discovered resources, Talos Energy said in a separate statement. Talos sold part of its stake in Green Canyon Block 821, where the discovery was made, to BP in 2019. Seismic reprocessing in the area put the prospect on Talos’ radar.

Talos Energy-Puma-West-Gulf-of-Mexico-BP
Source: Talos Energy

The discovery is just west of the Mad Dog field, where appraisal drilling activity over the years has led to resources more than doubling to over 5 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The latest oil discovery has sparked excitement about the area’s potential just as BP marks a milestone with the recent arrival of the Argos platform for its $9 billion Mad Dog 2 development, which is scheduled for startup in second-quarter 2022.

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“Puma West is a great example of the class of high impact catalyst opportunities still available in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico,” said Talos Energy President and CEO Tim Duncan. “Advancements in seismic technology, operational efficiency and safety at these depths, combined with ample available infrastructure, support robust project economics while also providing material domestic energy resources to consumers with a small environmental footprint.”

News of the discovery comes after BP reentered the well in late February following the temporary suspension of operations in early 2020. The well’s casing design was modified before drilling through the Middle and Lower Miocene, according to an October 2020 operational update from Talos.

BP serves as operator, holding a 50% interest. Talos Energy and Chevron each hold a 25% working interest.