McMoRan Exploration Co. has announced what it could be one of the largest oil and natural gas discoveries in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico in decades. The discovery was made at the Davy Jones ultra-deep prospect located on South Marsh Island Block 230 in about 20ft of water and 10mi off the Louisiana coast, the New Orleans company and Energy XXI, one of its Houston partners in the project, said. The well was drilled to 28,263ft and found a 135ft column of hydrocarbon-filled sands in the Wilcox section of the Eocene and Paleocene geologic trends. That puts the estimated size of the discovery close to 2 trillion cu/ft of resources, rivaling some oil and gas discoveries in the deep water Gulf. McMoRan is the lead operator of Davy Jones, with 32.7% working interest. Houston-based Plains Exploration & Production Co. has a 27.7% stake, Energy XXI has a 15.8% interest, Japan-based Nippon Oil Exploration USA Ltd holds 12%, while W.A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr. has an 8.8% interest.