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New-field discoveries in the West Coast area were down in 1978 from the previous year, although the total exploratory footage drilled was significantly higher and the total number of successful exploratory wells in California was up 12% from 1977. One new oil field and 6 new gas field discoveries were reported in California. None of these discoveries appear to be of major size and 1 gas field discovery was subsequently abandoned. Mobil commenced drilling a deep test in Oregon in 1978 on their large land block in the Willamette Valley. The well has subsequently been abandoned. No drilling activity was reported in Washington.
Development drilling in California, although down from 1977, continued at an active pace and is related largely to steam-flood projects. Production of oil outstripped additions to reserves by 164 million bbl in 1978.
Geothermal development drilling continued at The Geysers and in the Imperial Valley. The geothermal discovery well by McCulloch of the South Brawley field in the Imperial Valley is the deepest geothermal well drilled in California. This well may open a broad new area for deep fracture production. The first Imperial Valley geothermal power plant will begin generating electricity this year and 6 more plants are in various stages of design and construction throughout the valley. The Geysers capacity is expected to increase to 1,238 Mw by the end of 1982.
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