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Large-scale oil production from North Sea fields started late in 1975, but production elsewhere in western and southern Europe changed little from the 1974 rate. A large gas field in the Dutch North Sea area went on production and other fields were being developed actively. A major oil discovery was made at Brae in the Viking graben near the center of the North Sea east of northern Scotland. Other new fields were found in the Viking graben and the Moray Firth basin and major extensions were drilled to discoveries of previous years. Two exploratory wells off the east coast of Spain tested large volumes of oil. In the Molasse basin of Austria there was an important discovery of oil and another of gas. A new gas field was found in the Molasse basin in southern Germany. In It ly there were 7 gas discoveries and a large reservoir of low-gravity oil was found in the Adriatic. New fields, probably small size, were found onshore in France, The Netherlands, and Sweden, and a 1973 oil discovery in southern England was confirmed and extended.
In the Soviet Union production of crude oil and condensate was 9,820,000 b/d and of gas 27 Bcf/d. The large increase in Soviet oil production was at the expense of heavy withdrawals from a limited number of large fields, and there was concern about adequacy of future supply. Discoveries of oil in Paleozoic rocks of the floor of the southern West Siberian basin have encouraged extensive exploration in that region. Among widespread gas and oil discoveries in different parts of the USSR, deeper pool gas discoveries in the western Caspian at 16,500 to 17,500 ft (5,029 to 5,334 m), and gas discoveries and extensions in the Sea of Azov were of special interest.
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