1976 was the best year for domestic drilling… in terms of wells completed… since 1964. Improved prices for both oil and gas, despite government controls of both, are reflected in increased drilling during the period 1973–1976. period 1973–1976.Most areas of the country have shared increased activity. The most sizable increase has been in development drilling, followed by close-in exploratory work. Unfortunately, the last two years have brought slight declines in new field wildcats. However, percentage of wildcat success has not dropped.

Production, although still declining, has responded, to a significant degree, to increased activity.

The majority of the nation's drilling is done on an operator-of-record basis, by operators not generally classified as "majors".

Heaviest drilling has tended to appear in areas where gas can be sold to intrastate markets, and in areas where large numbers of oil wells can be completed rapidly, even though the resulting wells would probably have been considered uneconomic at prevailing prices of a few years ago. prices of a few years ago. Average total depths have tended to increase during the past three years, although there has been no marked increase in the number of ultra deep wells.

These, and other characteristics of 1976 drilling activity, with special attention to the Permian Basin, are pointed out in "overview" fashion.


The United States became aware, nearly four years ago, of a condition which was well-known to the petroleum industry long before then. There was, and still is, a crisis of energy supply.

The reasons are widely known, but not widely acknowledged. In fact, to this day, the existence of a real problem is not by any means fully acknowledged.

During the period since the 1973 embargo, we have fumbled and faltered our way through charges and counter charges without development of any effective course of action. As a country we still do not have concensus as to what, if anything, should be done, or if anything should be done. One philosophy which has repeatedly been stated, or at least inferred, is that we can do little that's worthwhile in domestic development of conventional energy supplies.

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