Shell has made a new exploration discovery in the deepwater of the US Gulf of Mexico.

The Fort Sumter well was drilled in the Mississippi Canyon Block 566, which is located about 117km offshore south-east of New Orleans in 7,062ft water depth to a total vertical drilling depth of 28,016ft measured depth. 

The initial estimated recoverable resources for the well are more than 125 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

Recoverable potential in the vicinity of the well is expected to increase with further appraisal drilling and planned wells in adjacent structures.

"These successes demonstrate there is still running room in the producing basins of our heartlands."

Royal Dutch Shell exploration executive vice-president Ceri Powell said: “The Fort Sumter discovery builds upon Shell’s global deepwater leadership. Its proximity to our nearby discoveries in the area, and to highly prospective acreage to the southeast, makes Fort Sumter particularly significant.

“These successes demonstrate there is still running room in the producing basins of our heartlands where large, high-value discoveries have the potential to further strengthen our deepwater competitiveness.”

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The 23km² block is entirely operated by Shell and later on an appraisal sidetrack well was drilled to a depth of 29,200ft.

Shell’s latest discovery will bring the total resources added by exploration in the Gulf of Mexico for the company since 2010 to around 1.3 billion boe.

Shell global deep water currently produces around 600,000 boe per day, and production is expected to increase to about 900,000 boe per day by 2020.