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The recovery from the 1958 recession is well illustrated in the drilling for and production of crude oil in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico. In 1959, 7,721 wells of all classes were drilled in this area, being a 23% increase over 1958. The 1,200 exploratory wells made a 9% increase, and the 6,570 development wells made a 27% increase over the previous year. The success ratio decreased slightly as shown by the 23% successful exploratory tests, down 4%, and the 88% success for development wells, down 2%. With comparable allowables and producing days, production for the year was 520,213,777 bbls. of oil, a 19% increase. The most important discoveries were the Forest Oil Corporation and Pan American Petroleum Corporation's Harris No. 1 in Dawson County, Hill & Meek r's Trower No. 1 in Loving County, and the Argo Oil Company's Neal No. 1 in Pecos County. The most spectacular discovery was the Turner's Shannon No. 4-BB in Crockett County.
Exploratory methods followed the same general pattern as in previous years with increased emphasis on subsurface geological methods. Geophysical activity was down 6% from the 1958 level. The Delaware basin, Sheffield channel, and Val Verde basin areas continued to be the most active from the standpoint of seismic work.
Leasing activity continued high in the area with bonus prices increasing and length of primary term decreasing. There was one University Land Sale held with competition less intense than in previous years with the average bonus price decreasing. There appears to be a trend toward more joint ventures and drilling units in both the areas of tightly held acreage and in the more unexplored areas in which the drilling costs are extremely high.
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