GulfSlope Energy Inc. said it encountered oil sands while drilling the northwest center of Vermilion Block 378, also known as the Canoe Shallow Prospect, in the Gulf of Mexico.

The results were based on logging-while-drilling (LWD) and isotube analysis of hydrocarbon samples, the company said in a news release. The well was drilled to a total of 5,765 ft measured depth (5,700 ft true vertical depth) and encountered no problems while drilling.

The company said it will further evaluate the shallow potential of the wellbore and the block using seismic data and fully integrating well information. This will also help define commerciality of the oil pays.

“The well is being temporarily abandoned with multiple openhole plugs to be set across several intervals. The well is equipped with a mud-line suspension system for possible future re-entry,” GulfSlope said in the release. “A deeper subsalt prospect on VR 378, for which the block was originally leased, is not yet drill-ready and is pending further seismic enhancement.”

The Rowan Ralph Coffman jackup rig, expected on location by Aug. 31, will be used to drill the Tau Subsalt prospect, marking the start of GulfSlope’s subsalt drilling plan for high-potential prospects, according to the release. The well will test Miocene reservoirs beneath thick salt sheets.

“At a planned depth of 29,860 feet measured depth (26,132 feet true vertical depth), the Tau Prospect exploratory well is projected to drill one of the thickest sub-seafloor geologic sections in Gulf of Mexico history almost five miles below the seafloor,” the company said.

Holding a 20% working interest, GulfSlope is the operator of the Tau well. Partners are Delek Group subsidiary Delek GOM Investments (75%) and Texas South Energy Inc. (5%).