While an oil glut continues to keep the price of gas at a rate that pleases the consumer, Shell Oil continues to seek out new areas in order to have available supplies when that overload inevitably dissipates. On July 28, they announced their latest exploration discovery that once again comes from the Gulf of Mexico.

shell new discovery Fort Sumter well

Located offshore, roughly 73 miles from New Orleans, what’s known as the Fort Sumter well in Mississippi Canyon Block 566 is expected to provide the company with the equivalent of 125 million barrels of oil by the time work ceases. This area, which spans nine square miles, is fully owned by Shell and discovered in a water depth of more than 7,000 feet.

Shell’s foray into the Gulf of Mexico had its origins in the late 1990’s and began in earnest in 2001. Given the locale, each of the now-four discoveries of oil that were part of the so-called “Norphlet Play” were given terms that hearkened back to the Civil War.

In 2010, the massive Appomattox discovery helped uncover a potential 500 million barrels of oil worth. Subsequent discoveries in 2013 and 2014, respectively, were not quite as plentiful, but were still estimated in the range of over 100 million barrels. Those two were given the names Vicksburg and Rydberg.

The presence of Shell led other oil companies, such as BHP Billiton and Marathon Oil, to also look into this potentially lucrative area. However, the company’s string of discoveries marks the major success among these entities, with the amount uncovered so far only trailing the company’s huge Mars Project in the Gulf.

The Norphlet area encompasses an area that touches four different states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi. Ironically, given its proximity to New Orleans, Louisiana is not among these states.