Noble Energy Makes Gulf Oil Find

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Noble Energy said it made a deepwater oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. The Santiago well project was the first deepwater Gulf project to be approved by federal regulators after the moratorium on deepwater drilling was imposed last year due to the Gulf spill, the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The company said it found oil deposits 60 feet thick when it drilled to a depth of about 18,920 feet, from a well located in 6,500 feet of water, about 70 miles southeast of Louisiana, the Associated Press reported. Noble started drilling Santiago just days before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010.

Texas-based Noble (NBL) owns 23.25 of the project. Oddly enough, BP (BP), Europe's second-largest oil company and the operator of the Deepwater Horizon, owns 46.5% of the project. Two privately held firms own the remaining stakes.

Santiago is the third well in Noble's Galapagos project. Noble expects all three wells will be online early next year and estimates the three discoveries contain 130 million barrels of oil, the AP reported.