Italian energy company Eni announced it appraised the Heidelberg discovery in U.S. waters after two appraisal wells were drilled in the Green Canyon block 130 miles off the Louisiana coast.
"Estimated recoverable resources could reach 200 million barrels of oil," Eni announced.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which serves as the operator of the project, said the project consortium had initiated front end engineering and design work with the goal of moving toward commercialization "of this emerging mega project."
"The data for the well is being evaluated in order to accelerate the overall sanctioning process for this project," added Eni.
An appraisal well at Heidelberg was drilled to a depth of 30,440 feet in waters 5,260 feet deep.
Oil companies returned to work in the Gulf of Mexico after the U.S. government lifted a ban on deep-water work after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. The government has since opened parts of the region to new development.
Friday marked the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico.