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Eight deepwater Gulf of Mexico discoveries made so far in 2004, MMS reports

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, June 8 -- The US Minerals Management Service reported that US oil and natural gas exploration and production companies have made eight new deepwater oil and gas discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico since the start of the year. The discoveries mark "a trend the agency expects to continue," MMS said.

"Unstable foreign oil production and record oil prices may have consumers slowing down on the roads of America, but domestic energy producers continue working at a brisk pace in frontier areas of the Gulf of Mexico to meet our nation's energy needs," MMS said.

The list of new gulf discoveries includes a BP PLC discovery on its Puma project on Green Canyon Block 823 and Unocal Corp.'s discoveries on its Tobago prospect on Alaminos Canyon Block 859 and its San Jacinto prospect on Desoto Canyon Block 618.

MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Chris Oynes hailed the results as "very encouraging."

Oynes noted, "The deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico continues to rapidly unfold as the major domestic energy source for the United States. While several new deepwater projects came on production in the gulf in 2003, these eight new discoveries indicate that the province is still developing at a brisk pace."

In 2004, several more deepwater projects have started production. ExxonMobil Corp., for example, announced the start-up of production from Llano field, in the Garden Banks area in 2,600 ft of water. Also, Dominion Exploration & Production Inc. announced the start of production from Devils Tower field, in the Mississippi Canyon area in 5,610 ft of water, Oynes said.

The steady drilling program and the growing deepwater infrastructure all indicate that the deepwater gulf will continue to be an integral part of the US's energy supply, Oynes contends.

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