Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell has hit oil in its Vicksburg A exploration well on De Soto Canyon Block 393, in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico.

Vicksburg A was drilled to a total depth of 26,385 feet, in 7446 metres of water, and encountered more than 500 feet of net oil pay.

Shell said the Vicksburg A discovery was estimated to hold potentially recoverable resources of more than 100 million barrels of oil equivalent.

This adds to the more than 500 million boe of potentially recoverable resources already uncovered and appraised at the nearby Appomattox discovery, with Shell noting Vicksburg A was a separate accumulation from both Appomattox and the 2007 Vicksburg B discovery.

Shell holds a 75% operated stake in De Soto Canyon Block 393, with China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s wholly-owned subsidiary Nexen holding the remaining 25% interest.

The pair will now turn their attention to a sidetrack well to test the Corinth prospect which is a separate fault block from the Vicksburg discovery.

The joint venture is also planning to carry out further exploration drilling in the area, targeting potential tie-backs to Appomattox.