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Total exploratory drilling in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia increased 8.9% from 1978. A total of 342 tests was drilled compared with 314 in 1978 and new-field discoveries increased from 35 to 44. New-field success rate was 14.2% compared with 11.4% in 1978. Mississippi was the most active state with 235 exploratory tests and 24 of the new-field discoveries. Overall exploratory and development drilling was 780 versus 674 in 1978, a 15.7% increase.
The Wilcox trend of southwestern Mississippi led in drilling with 35% of the exploratory tests. Exploratory activity increased over 1978 in the Jurassic trend which had 24% of the tests. The shallow Paleozoic trend accounted for 22% of the exploratory wells and was the leader in new-field discoveries with 18. Activity was constant with 1978 in the Lower Cretaceous trend where 13% of the tests were drilled, and the Upper Cretaceous was the least drilled trend with 6% of the tests.
Total exploratory drilling activity will probably increase in 1980 with most in the shallower Wilcox and Paleozoic trends. Acreage for leasing will still be scarce and deep drilling rigs may be in short supply. As usual, most of the exploratory drilling will be conducted by independents and smaller companies.
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