BP announced yesterday, Sept. 2, a huge deep-sea oil and gas discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the company’s press release, the field is located about 400 kilometers southeast of Houston, where water is at a depth of 1,259 meters. The Tiber test well was drilled to a depth of 10,685 meters (35,055 feet), which makes it deeper than Mount Everest is high and one of the deepest or the very deepest ever. BP, the largest oil and gas producer in the Gulf, is developing the Tiber field in partnership with Petrobras and ConocoPhilips. The company produces at present 400,000 barrels per day oil equivalent —most of that at its Thunder Horse platform, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and took a decade to get operating to BP’s satisfaction.
BP is not making any claims about the size of what it calls its "giant discovery," but according to accounts in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, the Tiber field could contain as much as 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Analysts consider BP well positioned with the new find to remain the Gulf's dominant producer, and the Gulf to be in a position to keep U.S. oil production from declining in the short and medium run. The Journal cites an estimate by the U.S. Minerals Management Service that Gulf production will increase to 1.88 million bpd by 2013, versus 1.14 million in 2008.