OSLO, Norway (AP) --Results from a deep-water test well in the Gulf of Mexico suggest a new pool of oil and gas that could boost U.S. reserves by as much as 50 percent.
Chevron Corp. on Tuesday estimated the 300-square-mile region where its test well sits could hold between 3 billion and 15 billion barrels of oil and natural gas liquids. Analysts are calling it the most significant domestic discovery since Alaska's Prudhoe Bay more than a generation ago.
It will take many years and tens of billions of dollars to bring the oil to market, but the discovery carries particular importance for the entire industry at a time when Western oil and gas companies are finding fewer opportunities in politically unstable parts of the world, including the Middle East, Africa and Russia.
The proximity of the Gulf of Mexico to the world's largest oil consuming nation makes it especially attractive. And it could bring pressure on Florida and other states to relax limits they have placed on drilling in their offshore waters for environmental and tourism reasons.