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In 1970, licensed areas in North Africa increased to 425,815,000 acres, up 39% from 1969, as numerous large blocks were awarded in Algeria. The exploration activity, which had increased greatly in 1969, declined during the past year in 4 of the 6 countries reviewed, especially in Libya, but in Algeria and the UAR a surge was noted. Exploratory drilling declined in 1970 with 128 wells drilled in 1970 against 145 in 1969 and the corresponding success decreased to 10.2% during the past year, 13 wells having been completed as oil producers in 1970 compared with 20 oil wells and 4 gas wells in 1969. Most of the new discoveries reported in Algeria and in Libya were made in proved basins. Development drilling was characterized by a general decrease in all the countries with the xception of Algeria. The number of wells drilled declined from 391 in 1969 to 311 in 1970, but the success ratio went up to 86.5%. As has been the case in recent years, most of the wells were drilled in Libya and in Algeria. Oil production totaled 1.7 billion bbl, an increase of 8.2% from 1969; the most spectacular rise was in the UAR with 34%. On the basis of the fragmentary statistics, gas production was estimated at more than 800,000 MCFD during the past year.
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