Several years ago, Noble Energy migrated its Gulf of Mexico investments to deepwater where our activities are driven by exploration. Our focus is on high-impact opportunities with the potential to provide significant medium and long-term growth to the Company. With a track record of success in finding and developing crude oil and natural gas resources, we have several large producing fields, multiple ongoing development projects and a substantial inventory of additional exploration opportunities.
In early 2011, we received the industry's first permit to return to drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico at the Santiago prospect. The discovery at Santiago was our third successful oil well in the Galapagos project, where total gross discovered resources are approximately 130 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBoe). Additional recovery potential and multiple follow-on opportunities increase Galapagos total resource potential to 250 MMBoe gross. First production from Galapagos (Isabela, Santa Cruz, and Santiago) was achieved in 2012 with initial production rates exceeding expectations.
Gunflint, a 2008 discovery, is currently being appraised for possible sanction later this year.
Big Bend, a 2012 discovery, is likely to be a subsea tieback development with the potential to be sanctioned this year.
With an unrisked net exploration inventory of approximately 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, we maintain a multi-year inventory of prospects focused on subsalt Miocene and proven amplitude plays.