Shares of Cobalt International Energy Inc., the offshore oil explorer backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., rose the most in more than nine months Wednesday after the company announced 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. 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, 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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