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By Kristen Hays
HOUSTON, Sept 12 BP Plc has begun
appraisal drilling in its highly touted Tiber oil prospect in
the Gulf of Mexico, the company said on Thursday, more than
three years after its massive Macondo blowout and crude spill
set back drilling in the basin.
BP confirmed that drilling began on Aug. 3. ConocoPhillips
Chief Executive Ryan Lance disclosed it to analysts
during a webcast presentation at the Barclays Energy-Power
Conference in New York. ConocoPhillips is a minority partner in
"We are appraising the Tiber discovery which was made
pre-incident in the Gulf of Mexico," Lance said, referring to
BP's 2010 Macondo oil spill that spewed millions of barrels of
crude into the Gulf and prompted a six-month drilling shutdown
by the U.S. government.
In 2009, BP touted what it called a "giant" oil discovery in
the Tiber field next to its Kaskida field that could hold up to
3 billion barrels of oil.
Both fields are in the Lower Tertiary trend, the Gulf's
deepest, most challenging and most promising deposit that is
estimated to hold up to 15 billion barrels of oil.
BP had planned in 2010 to drill appraisal wells in the Tiber
field to help gauge how much oil was there. The company's
Macondo rupture and spill prompted the shutdown that delayed
those plans as well as drilling by other Gulf oil producers.
That drilling plan resumed last month with the start of the
new well in Tiber. BP had already begun exploratory drilling at
another prospect near Tiber, called Gila, and that work is
BP owns the most leases in the Gulf and holding them gives
producers the right to drill. The company also is the
second-largest oil producer in the basin, behind Royal Dutch
BP's biggest new oil project in the Gulf, the Mad Dog Phase
2 development of its Mad Dog field, remains under review because
of rising costs from industry inflation, spokesman Brett Clanton
said on Thursday.
Rising costs had made the 2013 plan for Mad Dog Phase 2 less
attractive than previously planned. BP calls Mad Dog 2 a "mega
project," meaning it requires a gross investment of more than
BP already operates an oil and gas platform at its original
Mad Dog development that can produce up to 80,000 barrels per
day of oil and 60 million cubic feet per day of natural gas.
(Editing by Terry Wade, Bob Burgdorfer and Ken Wills)