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Exploration in central and southern Africa continued to expand during 1980. The greatest concentration of activity was in Nigeria. However, there was considerable increase in the level of exploratory work in Cameroon and Congo. Significant new finds have been made in Ivory Coast.
Geological and geophysical activity was carried out in 18 of the countries, with those in the western part having the largest share. Seismic work involved 225 party months of operation. Most of this time was spent on land, but marine operations accounted for 73,389 km of new control. Gravity and magnetic data were recorded during the marine surveys, and several large aeromagnetic projects were undertaken to obtain a total of 164,498 line km of data.
Exploratory and development drilling accounted for a total of 304 wells and 2,605,044 ft (794,212 m) of hole. The 92 exploratory wells that were drilled resulted in 47 oil and gas discoveries. In development drilling, 89% of the 212 wells were successful. At the end of the year, 27 exploratory wells were underway, and 34 development wells were being drilled for a total of 61.
Oil production from the countries that this review covers was 918,747,009 bbl in 1980, a drop of about 9% from the previous year. Countries showing a decline in production were Nigeria, Gabon, Cabinda, and Zaire. Increases were recorded in Cameroon, Congo, and Ghana. A new country was added to the list of producers when production from the Belier field in Ivory Coast came on stream.
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