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Petroleum production in western Europe excluding Austria increased 25 per cent in 1955, or at a greater rate than in 1954, due to the placing on full production of two large fields discovered in previous years, Parentis in France, and Ragusa in Sicily, as well as steady increases in production in Germany and the Netherlands. The Austrian oil industry was returned by Russia to Austrian control in August. As Austrian production is greater than that of any other country in the western zone of Europe, this was the chief factor in a substantial boost in daily average production in western Europe from 87,486 barrels in 1954 to 177,265 barrels in 1955. West Germany was the second most important producing country, but in spite of intensified drilling and exploration, German reser es showed only a modest increase. One of the most significant new developments of the year was the discovery of oil shallower than 2,000 feet in two fields in the Abruzzi region of Sicily. Another well in Abruzzi had good showings of low-gravity oil in the Lower Cretaceous at about 10,000 feet.
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