Cobalt International Energy Inc. (CIE:US), the offshore oil explorer backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US), rose the most in more than nine months after announcing a “significant” oil discovery in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
Cobalt surged 19 percent to $28.21 at the close in New York, the most since Feb. 10. The Houston-based company’s North Platte prospect may hold several hundred million barrels of oil, according to a statement today from its partner, Paris-based Total SA. (FP) Cobalt is the operator and holds a 60 percent interest, and Total, Europe’s third-largest oil company, holds a 40 percent interest.
The discovery is located in about 4,400 feet (1,321 meters) of water and drilled to a depth of about 34,500 feet, according to a separate statement from Houston-based Cobalt.
The find is favorable for Cobalt and Total’s strategic alliance in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, said Brian Gamble, an analyst at Simmons & Co. in Houston. More appraisal is needed to confirm the discovery’s ultimate size and commerciality, he said.
Goldman Sachs and private-equity firms the Carlyle Group LP (CG:US), Riverstone Holdings LLC and First Reserve Corp. each held about 15 percent of Cobalt at the end of the third quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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