Murphy Oil has spudded a closely watched exploration well offshore Mexico, targeting a prospect that could host up to 350 million barrels of oil.

The Tulum-1 well is being drilled by the semi-submersible rig Valaris DPS-5, which has just arrived on location in Block 5, according to marine intelligence provider VesselsValue.

The well site is about 30 kilometres northwest of the Cholula discovery in the same acreage.

Sited in the proven Salina basin, if the well is successful it could open up a new Lower Miocene exploitation zone holding multiple follow-on drilling opportunities.

Murphy chief executive Roger Jenkins told analysts last month that Tulum-1 will likely be a 50 to 60-day well, so results should emerge at the start of February 2023.

He added that the company anticipates the well to have a mean to upward gross resource potential of 150 million to 350 million barrels of oil equivalent.

In total, Murphy has mapped 34 prospects and leads in Block 5, with a combined gross resource potential of between 800 million and 2 billion barrels of oil.

Murphy has a 40% operating stake in the block and is partnered by Petronas on 30 and Wintershall Dea on 30%.

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