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Shell May Drill $200 Million Well Off South Africa Next Year

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil producer, may drill off South Africa’s northwest coast next year after studying geological data from the area.

The company based in The Hague, acquired 8,000 square kilometers (3,088 square miles) of 3-D seismic data of the Orange Basin, Shell South Africa General Manager Jan Willem Eggink said in an interview in Johannesburg yesterday. The information is being processed and should be ready by December, he said.

Shell has started an environmental impact study “so that if we will go ahead to drill a well we will be ready,” he said. The timing of a prospect well would be due to rig availability and the weather window, Eggink said. The cost of each well would be $150 million to $200 million because of the deep water.

South Africa had proven oil reserves of 15 million barrels in January 2011, located to the south and off the west coast near the Namibian border, according to Oil and Gas Journal. The country, isolated from foreign investment until apartheid ended in 1994, has no “significant” crude output, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Shell’s area is close to the border of Namibia in water ranging from 500 meters (1,640 feet) to 3,000 meters in depth, according to Eggink.

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