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In Europe during 1980, the need to find more oil caused an itensification of exploration activity into producing basins and even into producing zones for existing plays. The high-risk nature of many of the prospects tested is expressed in the low success ratios for several countries. The success rate continued to rise, however, in the North Sea, where many more appraisal wells were drilled and many wells tested fault blocks adjacent to existing oil fields. There were increases in development drilling almost everywhere and further application of fracturing techniques to existing fields. Development drilling began to decline in the North Sea, a trend likely to continue as government-enforced depletion policies are introduced. In the onshore producing areas, many new explora ion licenses were awarded. The new exploration areas are likely to increase in importance. There were some encouraging results in these areas during 1980. The offshore zones of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean proved equally exciting. However, the quickest returns will be gained from onshore discoveries; the reexamination of hydrocarbon-bearing areas not so far developed proved highly successful. The Swiss Entlebuch 1 gas discovery opens up a new exploration tract of the deep autochthon of central Europe. It is just this area where oil production has been declining. Gas production continues to decline in nearly all areas except the North Sea.
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