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Drilling operations in the southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi experienced a slight overall decline during 1971, dropping from 668 wells in 1970 to 637 wells in 1971, a decrease of 4.6%. This decline was due primarily to a continued drop in drilling activity in the Eocene Wilcox area of Mississippi. Cretaceous and Jurassic activity remained about the same as in 1970, and the Paleozoic activity experienced a notable increase. Of the total completions, 309 were exploratory tests which resulted in 35 discoveries. Development drilling included 328 completions netting 192 oil wells and 19 gas wells.
Deep drilling in the Jurassic trend of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida continues to highlight the drilling activity. The Jurassic has become the most active of the trends both in number of wells and in total footage drilled. Several significant successes are noted in this trend from Humphreys County, Mississippi, southeastward to Santa Rosa County, Florida. Probably, the most significant activity has been the continued development of Jay field in the Florida panhandle. This field, with pays in both the Smackover and the Norphlet, is rapidly becoming one of the largest fields in the southeast, both areally as well as in reserve potential.
The Upper Cretaceous trend continued a rejuvenation which commenced in 1970. The lower Tuscaloosa has been the principal objective in this activity, and has resulted in several significant discoveries.
Also of significance has been the increased activity in the Black Warrior basin. Drilling activity increased from 7 wells in 1970 to 41 in 1971 and included 6 exploratory successes. This greater activity and interest in the Paleozoic trend are primarily results of the ever-rising demand for natural gas.
Geophysical activity shows a slight increase over the previous year with a continued shift of emphasis toward the southeast in Alabama and Florida.
Exploration is expected to continue at an active pace in the southeastern states in 1972 with the greatest emphasis again in the Jurassic trend. Also, continued increases in activity in the lower Tuscaloosa area and in the Paleozoic trend of the Black Warrior basin are anticipated.
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