Shell has discovered hydrocarbons with the Fort Sumter exploration well in the deepwater US Gulf of Mexico.

The Fort Sumter well was drilled in the Mississippi Canyon block 566, located around 73 mi (117 km) southeast of New Orleans, in a water depth of 7,062 ft (2,152 m) to a total vertical drilling depth of 28,016 ft (8,539 m) measured depth. The initial estimated recoverable resources are more than 125 MMboe.

The block is 9 sq mi (23 sq km) in size and is operated by Shell (100%). An appraisal side track well was later drilled to a depth of 29,200 ft (8,900 m) measured depth.

Further appraisal drilling and planned wells in adjacent structures could considerably increase recoverable potential in the vicinity of the Fort Sumter well, the operator said.

Executive Vice President Exploration 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.”

Shell’s material discovery in this heartland builds upon recent Norphlet play exploration success at the Appomattox (2010), Vicksburg (2013), and Rydberg (2014) discoveries. This brings the company’s total resources added by exploration in the Gulf of Mexico since 2010 to around 1.3 Bboe.

Shell global deepwater, which is a growth priority for the company, currently produces around 600,000 boe/d, and production is expected to increase to about 900,000 boe/d by the early 2020s from already discovered, established reservoirs.