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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 59 (1975)

Issue: 8. (August)

First Page: 1273

Last Page: 1310

Title: North American Drilling Activity in 1974

Author(s): Fred J. Wagner (2)


Total drilling activity in North America increased in 1974 compared with 1973. The 37,502 total wells drilled in the United States, Canada, and Mexico is an increase of 14.9% compared with 1973, and the 32,405 mi of footage drilled is a 7.3% increase over 1973.

Canada showed a decrease in drilling activity, both in the number of wells drilled and in the total footage. The 175 new-field wildcat discoveries accounted for a 25.7% success, an all-time high. Of these discoveries, 135 were in Alberta and 30 were in Saskatchewan. The new-field wildcats and new-pool wildcats accounted for 486 of the 638 exploratory discoveries. Exploratory success in Canada was 36.4% of the 1,754 exploratory wells drilled.

Mexico in 1974 drilled 408 wells, exploratory and development. This number was a 3% decrease compared with 1973. Of the total wells, 98 were exploratory and 310 were development. New-field wildcat drilling accounted for 6 discoveries and a success of 11%. Overall exploratory success was 21%, resulting in 19 discoveries, 9 of which were in the Salina basin.

For the United States, drilling activity increased 19.2%, and footage drilled increased 10.2%, compared with 1973. The new-field discoveries, 805, were the highest since 1956. The ratio of dry holes to producers was the lowest in history--6.02:1, and inversely the success was the highest--14.24%, which is substantially higher than the normal 9-11%.

Estimates of ultimate reserves discovered in 1974 in the United States show an increase in volume over that discovered in 1973. The new fields in 1974 discovered an estimated 402 million BO and condensate and 4.3 TCFG. However, production still remains greater than 3 times the amount found.

It is anticipated that the 1975 activity, as a result of the removal of the depletion allowance, will be suppressed and consequently reduce the amount of reserves found. This prediction appears valid because the number of new-field wildcat discoveries generally has been proportional to the number of new-field wildcats drilled.

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