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Wells drilled in the Upper Texas Gulf Coast during 1978 totaled 1,540, keeping pace with the decade high of 1,584 in 1977. The center of onshore development drilling shifted to the Cretaceous trend with extensive exploitation of the Austin Chalk. During 1978, 515 exploratory wells were drilled onshore resulting in 45 new-field discoveries. The Oligocene remained the most actively explored trend, accounting for most of the significant discoveries. Onshore seismic exploration increased by a staggering 83.8% with the largest increase reported in the northeast corner of the Cretaceous trend. The year also marked the beginning of the first geothermal geopressure project on the Upper Texas Gulf Coast. In addition, an enhanced oil recovery pilot was placed in operation at Manvel field. Offshore development drilling was down by 24%, but exploratory drilling reversed its 3-year decline. Only 2 offshore new-field discoveries were reported as operators held information confidential. In 2 federal and 2 state lease sales held in 1978, companies spent $401.4 million in acquiring 462,035 acres.
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