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Twenty-seven exploratory wells were drilled in Alaska in 1978. One oil discovery was announced at the Point Thomson area on the North Slope and 9 suspended wells near the Prudhoe Bay field and the Kuparuk River field may have found oil. Two apparent gas discoveries were announced on the west side of Cook Inlet but the first well drilled in the Lower Cook Inlet OCS area was dry. Four wells drilled in the Gulf of Alaska OCS area were dry. Fifty-three development wells were drilled and all were successful; 7 service wells were completed.
Geologic-geophysical field activity by both industry and government consisted of 95.89 crew-months, a decrease of 21% compared to 1977. This decrease affected all of the major basins of the state except the North Slope, which had a 13% increase from the previous year.
Federal acreage under lease decreased more than 50%. State lease acreage declined slightly. As the Prudhoe Bay field reached its potential, the year's oil production showed an increase of 261% and gas production showed an increase of 160%.
The State of Alaska announced a 5-year leasing schedule that may stimulate exploration, but the federal land situation remains unresolved until the 17(d) (2) question is decided by Congress.
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