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The number of wells drilled in the Permian basin during 1975 climbed 22% from 1974 with a corresponding 20.2% gain in total footage. Exploratory drilling increased by 27.8% in West Texas but declined by 43.6% in eastern New Mexico. The wildcat success ratio was little changed at 28% in Texas and rose remarkably to 42.7% in New Mexico. Development drilling maintained a strong pace throughout 1975 as completions increased by 25% over 1974. Gas-well completions sagged 4.4%, but oil-well completions increased dramatically by 39.4% against the year earlier totals.
In spite of the great surge in drilling activity over the past several years, oil production in West Texas and eastern New Mexico again declined. Production for the combined area decreased by 9,648,596 bbl, or 1.3%.
Geophysical prospecting activity, a normally reliable forecaster of future exploratory drilling levels, declined by 7.8% in the Permian basin during 1975. More significantly, the number of crew-weeks reported in the last 4 months of 1975 was off 25 to 30% from the preceding months.
Leasing activities were conducted vigorously during 1975. Large leaseholds were acquired in remote, potentially gas-productive regions previously dismissed as uneconomical.
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