BP's (NYSE:BP) giant gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, which my Foolish colleague Toby Shute told you about, not only represents the biggest find in the U.S. in a while -- it signals the comeback of a company that was overwhelmed by bad luck for several years. Now, if you think the price of crude just might inch slowly higher, you should really get to know BP.

First off, in looking at companies, I'm a management freak. On that basis, I know of few with as strong a contingent as CEO Tony Hayward and his crew. They're experienced in energy, and not afraid to take chances in their quest to locate the world's dwindling supplies of oil and gas.

It hasn't always been easy for them. Indeed, they've had to endure more hits to their reputation than almost any company I can think of. There was the 2005 refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas, that killed or wounded dozens. And there was a pipeline leak in Alaska that was apparently due to corrosion, itself born of neglect. In addition, an Indiana refinery was out of commission for a period following a fire.

There also was the abrupt departure of longtime CEO Lord Browne following the discovery of some personal peccadilloes on his part. And finally, little more than a year ago I'd have ventured that BP was about to lose much of its global reserves and production as a result of confrontations with its Russian partners in TNK-BP, its big joint venture in that country. But somewhat surprisingly, those difficulties too have been smoothed over.

So now, southeast of Houston, in more than 4,100 feet of water and nearly 30,000 feet beneath the seafloor, with financial and moral support from ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) -- to say nothing of the contribution of drilling contractor Transocean (NYSE:RIG) -- comes another big find for the company. Called Tiber, it could contain upwards of 3 billion barrels of oil and gas. It follows Kaskida, another large 2006 discovery not far away by the company.

So with the biggest of Big Oil ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) having pretty much written off the Gulf of Mexico -- although the likes of Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) are still active there -- Tiber is being billed as a signal that the area is back. I'd like to add that it seems that BP also now is completely back.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He welcomes your questions or comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy.