Gulf oil field names follow quirky, creative system

Take a look at an any major oil company’s map of offshore oil fields, and you’ll see a strange panoply of names across the Gulf of Mexico. That’s because when oil company geologists make a discovery, their employers give them permission to name it. And many of them seem to make it a point of personal pride to come up with the most creative names possible.

Generally, oil fields found in the same vicinity or leased at the same time have names that are part of a broader theme like cartoon characters or historical sites.

But as drilling activity has increased in the Gulf of Mexico over the decades, geologists have had to push the envelope and develop even more distinct labels for their finds.

Check out some of the interesting names for oil fields sitting in the Gulf of Mexico. Find more examples and a look at the process in a story at


About The Author

Ryan Holeywell covers energy for the Houston Chronicle. He previously wrote about transportation and municipal finance for Governing magazine, which is read by state and local government officials nationwide. Holeywell’s previous work has been published by the Washington Post and USA Today, and he has appeared on CNN and public radio to discuss his articles. Holeywell, a Houston native, graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.