Stone Energy Corp. said Tuesday it hit net natural gas pay in two deepwater Gulf of Mexico wells that suggest commercial discoveries.

“It is a great start to the year to make discoveries at Amethyst and Tomcat, our two 100% working interest exploratory prospects,” said CEO David Welch. “The close proximity of both prospects to Stone platforms should provide us with attractive development options and enhance the economic value of the discoveries.”

The Amethyst discovery well in Mississippi Canyon Block 26 encountered about 90 feet of net pay in one interval.

“Analysis of logging, coring and fluid data confirmed the existence of natural gas, condensate and natural gas liquids in the pay zone, an estimated yield of 60-80 bbl of liquids/MMcf of natural gas.”

The interval has been placed safely behind pipe for a future completion, officials noted. A full evaluation, including seismic and subsurface data integration, would be required before hydrocarbon quantities are estimated and a specific development plan is sanctioned.

A single or multi-well tie-back to Stone’s Pompano platform, less than five miles from the discovery, is a likely development option for the Lafayette, LA-based producer.

“The knowledge and information gained from the Amethyst well will also be helpful in evaluating our existing portfolio of prospects in the Mississippi Canyon area, where we expect to be an active player for the next several years,” said Welch.

The results at the deep natural gas Tomcat exploration prospect at West Cameron Block 76 had about 30 feet of net pay in the Camerina interval.

“Well log analysis, combined with offset Camerina production history, would suggest the zone should produce rich natural gas with approximately 60 bbl of condensate per MMcf of natural gas, as well as additional natural gas liquids volumes.”

Tomcat’s initial development plans call for a tie-back to Stone’s nearby East Cameron Block 64 production platform with a ramp up likely by the second half of this year.

Rigs remain at both locations to prepare the wells for future production.