Exxon Announces Major Gulf Discovery

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Exxon Mobil, the largest U.S. oil company, announced a major discovery in the Gulf of Mexico today, the size of which could result in up to 700 million barrels of recoverable oil and natural gas equivalent. A discovery of that magnitude would be one of the largest in the Gulf in recent years.

Dow component Exxon (XOM) had to halt drilling for the three discoveries that are 250 miles southwest of New Orleans last year due to the government-imposed moratorium on deepwater drilling that followed the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

The company's announcement makes it the first company to discover oil from a new deep-water well in the Gulf of Mexico since last year's massive oil spill, according to the Associated Press. Exxon's latest well at the exploration site has been drilled to 7,000 feet and the company has plans to drill deeper.

Texas-based Exxon is the primary operator of the project, the well for which is known as Keathley Canyon. Units of Eni SpA (E), Italy's largest oil company, and Petrobras (PBR), Brazil's state-run oil producer, have minority stakes in the project.

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