ExxonMobil Corporation reports that its affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (Esso), has confirmed a major deepwater oil and gas discovery in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation's Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 209, approximately 100 miles southeast of Lagos. The discovery well, Erha-1 was drilled from December 1998 to February 1999. The appraisal well, Erha-2, was spudded in 3,860 feet of water on September 9 and drilled to a total depth of 12,287 feet. It encountered an oil-bearing reservoir that flowed at a test rate of 2,800 barrels per day from the test interval. Esso has operated the OPL 209 license since 1993. As operator, Esso will hold a 56.25 percent participating interest and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd. (SNEPCO) will hold 43.75 percent. "Confirmation of the Erha discovery is an important addition to ExxonMobil's deepwater portfolio," stated Exxon Mobil Corporation Director and Senior Vice President Harry Longwell. "Nigeria is expected to make a significant addition to ExxonMobil's production volumes in the years ahead," Longwell added. ExxonMobil has established a major position in the West Africa deepwater, where it is the largest multinational acreage holder. ExxonMobil affiliates have interests in 44 high-potential deepwater blocks in Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo(Brazzaville), Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe totaling nearly 35 million gross acres. Including Erha, ExxonMobil and its co-venturers have announced fifteen discoveries from these blocks that represent world-class development opportunities with a recoverable reserve potential of 6 billion oil equivalent barrels.