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St. Petersburg Times, FL: Shell Oil eyes drilling west of Clearwater

By THERESA BLACKWELL, Times Staff Writer

CLEARWATER – Shell Oil Co. probably will apply within a month for a federal permit to drill an exploratory well 53 miles west of Clearwater, an operation that will take up to three months and go down 18,000 feet into the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

Robert L. Wilson, manager of safety and environmental conservation for Shell’s offshore division, outlined his company’s proposed drilling program to members of the Clearwater Rotary Club here Wednesday.

Shell will do the drilling in a joint venture with Sun Oil Co., sharing the estimated cost of $3 million.

The federal permit is the last procedural step the oil companies must take before they can put up a rig. The companies bought the Gulf leases from the federal government in December.

Wilson said the well is to be drilled in about 150 feet of water from a three-legged jack-up rig now in use offshore from Galveston, Texas.

The test well near here probably wouldn’t be started until October, and it would be mid 1975 before it could be determined if the well would be productive, he said.

If productive wells are drilled in the Gulf near here, the crude oil or gas produced could be barged ashore but would most likely be piped to land bases, Wilson said.

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