Vastar Resources, Inc. announced a significant oil discovery by an exploratory well testing the Horn Mountain prospect on Mississippi Canyon block 127 in the Gulf of Mexico deepwater area. Diamond Offshore’s semisubmersible, Ocean Victory is be utilized by Vastar for drilling operations on this prospect. Vastar holds a two-thirds working interest in the prospect and serves as operator, with Occidental Petroleum Corporation holding a one-third interest. The discovery well encountered 285 feet of net pay in two primary and two secondary intervals, all of which are Miocene age. The primary intervals contain 33-degree API gravity crude oil. The discovery well reached a total depth of 14,677 feet and was sidetracked down-dip to confirm the pay intervals and a hydrocarbon column of at least 500 feet. "These results are in line with our pre-drill projections for the Horn Mountain prospect," said Robert Strode, Vastar's senior vice president of Exploration and Land. "We plan to appraise this discovery aggressively in order to evaluate our development options and accelerate the time to first production." Current plans call for drilling another sidetrack well, followed by an appraisal well located a mile to the east of the discovery well. Mississippi Canyon block 127 lies in 5,400 feet of water approximately 50 miles east of the lower Mississippi River delta. Since entering the deepwater trend in late 1997, Vastar has drilled four company-operated wells and achieved three discoveries. The first, on the King prospect, is expected to initiate production during the first half of 2000 from a subsea completion tied back to the nearby Mars platform. The second discovery was on the Mirage prospect, where future appraisal drilling is planned. Vastar plans to drill or participate in four to six deepwater wells annually.