Business: Big Gamble's First Return

A hundred miles west, hotshot Sunday evening gamblers were eagerly rolling dice at Atlantic City's new casinos. Although none of them knew it, at that same moment Texaco oilmen at sea on a drilling rig, which was moored in 432 ft. of water near the edge of the U.S. continental shelf, were playing for much higher stakes. Aboard the Ocean Victory, they nervously awaited the results of a test detonation 14,000 ft. below the ocean floor that could tell the outcome of their $30 million search for oil and natural gas.

There was no gusher. Instead, pressure gauges simply showed that something—oil...

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