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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 10. (October)

First Page: 1728

Last Page: 1756

Title: Drilling Activity in North America During 1980

Author(s): Robert R. Johnston (1)


Total drilling activity in North America increased in 1980 compared with 1979. The 72,084 total wells drilled in the United States, Canada, and Mexico is an increase of 22.0% compared with 1979, and the 62,052 mi of footage drilled is a 19.1% increase over 1979.

Canada shows an increase of 22.7% in total wells drilled (9,188) and a 34.7% increase in the amount of footage drilled (34,594,812). The 366 new field wildcat discoveries represent a success of 58.3%, an all-time high. Of these discoveries, 81 are in Alberta, and 220 are in Saskatchewan. The new field and new pool wildcats account for 68.9% of the 2,517 exploratory discoveries. In Canada, 65.3% of the 3,857 exploratory wells drilled were successful.

Mexico drilled a total of 434 exploratory and development wells. This number represents a 30.3% increase compared with 1979. Of this number 85 are exploratory and 349 are development. New field wildcat drilling accounts for 34 discoveries with a success of 45.0% (the success percentage does not include wells suspended due to mechanical failures). Overall exploratory success was 41.2%, resulting in 35 discoveries, 6 of which are in the northeast zone, 1 in the north zone, 19 in the combined Poza Rica district and Vera Cruz Embayment, and 9 in the South zone.

In the United States, total drilling activity increased 21.8% (62,462 wells), and footage drilled increased 18.8% (54,723 mi) compared with 1979. There were 1,340 new field discoveries, a 15.3% increase over 1979. The ratio of new field dry holes to producers was 4.25:1, and the success is 19.0%, which is substantially higher than the normal 9-11% and exceeds last year's success rate by 1%.

Estimates of ultimate reserves discovered in 1980 in the United States show an increase in volume of liquids over those discovered in 1979 and no change in the volume of gas. The new fields in 1980 discovered an estimated 504 million barrels of oil and condensate and 4.1 trillion cubic feet of gas. However, 1980 production remains significantly greater than the amount found.

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