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Onshore 1974 drilling activity in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia increased 9.7% from 1973. A total of 566 tests was drilled compared to 516 in 1973. A 20.9% increase in exploratory drilling was recorded as 370 tests were reported, 64 more than in 1973. Development activity continued to decline, however, as 196 tests were drilled in 1974 down from 210 in 1973. A total of 20 new-field discoveries was completed, 3 less than the 1973 total. New-field success rate was low at 6.1%.
Exploration increased considerably in the Wilcox trend of southwestern Mississippi and it replaced the Jurassic as the leading drilling trend. Drilling for Jurassic objectives was the lowest since 1968, but some of the more significant discoveries were reported in this interval. The Paleozoic trend in the Black Warrior basin was the third most active drilling area, followed by the Upper Cretaceous, but important discoveries were lacking in both trends. Activity dropped in the Lower Cretaceous trend but 2 important discoveries were recorded and increased interest in this trend is expected in 1975.
Drilling in the Mafla offshore area began at about midyear and approximately 15 Tertiary and Cretaceous tests were drilled. Only 1 successful wildcat was announced and this was less than 1 mi from established production in the Louisiana offshore area. The remaining offshore wildcats were disappointingly dry, including 2 on the huge Destin anticline of offshore Florida panhandle. Deeper Jurassic sections were not penetrated offshore in 1974.
Seismic activity declined in the southeastern states in 1974. Much of the activity was detailed work supplementing data acquired in previous years. Important leasing activity occurred in the Lower Cretaceous trend and along the coastal counties of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida panhandle where the deep Jurassic was the primary objective. Overall, however, no extensive blocks were assembled and leasing appeared to be mainly a continuation of efforts started in the previous 2 years.
Total drilling activity is predicted to increase slightly in 1975 because of an expected rise in exploratory drilling. However, this forecast is based on the availability of rigs and pipe, plus continued economic incentives. Conditions or policies adversely affecting these factors could lead to a decline in drilling activity.
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