Document and Entity Information
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2017
Document And Entity Information [Abstract]  
Entity Registrant Name Cobalt International Energy, Inc.
Entity Central Index Key 0001471261
Document Type 10-Q
Document Period End Date Mar. 31, 2017
Amendment Flag false
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31
Trading Symbol CIE
Entity Filer Category Accelerated Filer
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding 448,309,776
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2017
Document Fiscal Period Focus Q1