BP has announced a "giant" oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, drilled to a total depth of 35,055 feet. Drilling began at a depth of 4,132 feet below the surface of the water. No further details of the magnitude of the discovery are being released. But this is further evidence that deep oil and gas deposits may dwarf the resources discovered at shallower depths.
More than two decades ago, people began noticing that shallower wells in the Gulf of Mexico that were thought to be exhausted seemed to be regenerating, with oil seeping upward from deposits below. This observation, as well as the discovery of vast gas deposits at depths of 10,000 feet and more, has led to a theory that oil and gas deposits are not the fossilized remains of organic matter from the ancient surface of the earth, but are instead a product of organic processes at work underneath the surface of the planet.
The technology for drilling deep is improving, thanks to the work of geniuses in Houston and other locales. It still costs a lot to reach miles beneath the earth's surface. But with this much money at stake, and with the enticement of huge quantities of oil available, further progress in capability and cost can be expected.
Theorists who proclaim that oil production has peaked or soon will decline have got to hate this good news for oil consumers.