UPDATE 1-Shell announces third big oil find in Gulf of Mexico's Norphlet area
(Adds background, executive interview)
July 15 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc said on Tuesday it had found roughly 100 million barrels of oil equivalent (boed) in the Gulf of Mexico's Norphlet formation, its third discovery there.
The company, the gulf's largest operator, found the oil near its Rydberg well, roughly 75 miles (120 km) off the Louisiana coast.
Shell drilled the well about 26,300 feet (8,015 meters) from the water's surface, including 18,900 feet into the ocean floor, before finding a 400-foot-wide pocket of oil reserves.
The company has announced similar findings at two nearby wells in recent years, and the area has the potential to become a major Shell hub in the Gulf, similar to its work in the Mars area of the Gulf.
"No other operators have been able to unlock this play," Mark Shuster, Shell's executive vice president of exploration, said in an interview. "This is going to be a new exciting hub for us."
Shell has no formal timeline for bringing the new well online, as it still needs to study how to produce and transport the oil. A decision should come within a few years, Shuster said.
Shell is the project's primary operator, and partners with Ecopetrol SA and CNOOC Ltd's Nexen. (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Paul Simao)
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