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Oil production in the North Sea rose to 814,000 b/d at the end of 1976 and continued to increase as additional fields in the British and Norwegian areas were put on production and new producing facilities were completed. Gas output increased modestly while several large new fields in the northern North Sea were being readied for production. Exploration in the British North Sea area declined as most of the larger structural prospects have been drilled. An interesting discovery was made only 17 mi off the coast of northern Scotland. There were oil and gas discoveries, probably of small size, in Austria, France, and The Netherlands. Two new fields and 2 deeper pool gas discoveries were made in northwest Germany and a new oil and a new gas field in southern Germany. In Italy, oil was found by 2 offshore wells and there were 3 gas discoveries, one of them near Milan, which produced from a deep Mesozoic reservoir. In Spain, an oil discovery on the south side of the Bay of Biscay opened a new petroleum province. A new oil field was found in the Gulf of Valencia.
In the Soviet Union, average daily production of crude oil and condensate was 10,358,000 bbl and of gas 31 Bcf. Production from giant fields, such as Samotlor in the West Siberian basin, was responsible for a high percentage of the USSR total, and as these fields approached or passed their peak output it became necessary to develop smaller fields, particularly in the West Siberian basin. Offshore exploration in the Caspian Sea lagged because of lack of modern equipment. A gas discovery of 1975 in the Black Sea west of the Crimean Peninsula was being delineated. A major extension was made to the Dauletabad gas field near the Iranian border.
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