Mary Tutwiler

Whale of an oil and gas find in Gulf of Mexico

by Mary Tutwiler

Deeper than Mt. Everest is tall. That’s the deepest oil well in the world, and the find, by BP, is right here in the Gulf of Mexico. The Times-Picayune reports today that the Tiber Prospect, BP’s new well in the southwest Gulf, is 30,923 feet deep, and under 4,000 feet of water. The Tiber well is also expected to be one of the largest finds in the U.S., with the potential to match another BP Gulf of Mexico discovery, the Thunder Horse oil field, which produces 250,000 barrels of oil and 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

While the find is great news, it will take years to develop, and require countless oil field workers. That’s even better news for southwest Louisiana’s service companies, which have begun belt tightening as the rig count drops. When Thunder Horse was developed in the 1990s, it helped drive every aspect of the service industry from fabricators to refineries. “The support industry for a project as big as this is huge,” Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association,  told the TP, and Tiber could be even bigger than Thunder Horse. The Atlantic’s Daniel Indiviglio concurs with Briggs. “I think the bigger news [than the find itself] is the optimism that this might create for future oil exploration,” he writes.