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Exploration and development activities in Western Canada continued at approximately the same level established during 1958. There was a noticeable shift of major operations toward the northern regions, but Alberta still led the other provinces by substantial margins in all phases except surface mapping.
There was no essential change in the over-all number of wells drilled (2,500) although 905 exploratory tests accounted for a slightly greater percentage (up 6.2%) of the total. Success of exploratory drilling increased from 24% to 31% and, for the first time, gas discoveries (142) exceeded oil discoveries (136). The Yukon recorded its first oil and gas discovery, and other important finds were made in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, northwestern Alberta, and northeastern British Columbia. Development drilling centered mainly in the Pembina, Alberta, and southeastern Saskatchewan oil fields, and southern Alberta gas fields. Rapid exploitation of recent Beaverhill Lake discoveries in the Swan Hills area developed into a major center of activity.
Exploratory methods followed the same pattern as in previous years. Geophysical work continued to decline sharply (down 30%) particularly in Saskatchewan, and surface mapping increased (up 33%) largely in British Columbia and northern regions.
Crude oil production reached a new high of 184 million bbls., up 12% on 1958 for a cumulative of 1.27 billion bbls. Gas production was up nearly 20% to 480 BCF for a cumulative of 3.97 TCF. Liquid hydrocarbon reserves increased by nearly 350 million bbls. (9½%) to 4 billion bbls., and gas reserves showed a 14% increase to 26.4 TCF.
Land holdings increased by 40% to 366 million acres mainly as a result of acquisition of 106 million acres in the Arctic Islands and 23 million acres in the Territories.
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