Dougherty, T., Petroleum Information Corp. Petroleum Information Corp. Copyright 1979, American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Petroleum Engineers, Inc. This paper was presented at the 1979 Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME Deep Drilling and Production Symposium held in Amarillo, Texas, April 1–3, 1979. The material is subject to correction by the author. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words.

Abstract

Drilling in 1978 continued the unbroken increase of the past several years in terms of total wells completed, oil wells completed and the precipitous annual increase in new gas wells noted precipitous annual increase in new gas wells noted since 1974 was also continued. Results of drilling expansion since 1973 are noted in the fact that both oil and gas production increased in 1978 as compared to 1977. The increase in oil production was almost wholly due to increased production in Alaska, but it is true that there was some sort of increase in crude and condensate production in more than a third of the producing states. Gas production was also increased producing states. Gas production was also increased slightly over 1977, with some 60 percent of producing states showing some sort of increase. There producing states showing some sort of increase. There was no major contributor of new gas production to correspond with Alaska in the case of crude and condensate. While total drilling in 1978 showed an increase of almost 11 percent, new field wildcats increased slightly more than that, and the percentage of new field wildcats completed as discoveries held at about the same favorable levels of prior years. Sixty-two percent of all completions in the United States in 1978 went to depths of 5,000 feet or less. Some 28 percent were drilled no deeper than 2,500 feet. Yet, average total depth increased by 141 feet as compared to 1977, total footage was up by 14 percent and the number of wells that went to 15,000 feet or deeper was up by 46 percent. The outlook at the end of 1978 was for increased drilling to the extent of a gain of about eight percent in 1979, barring undue political percent in 1979, barring undue political constraints.

TEXT

We were in energy trouble in 1973. We still are. That we are is not the fault of the United States petroleum industry. You have read rambunctious petroleum industry. You have read rambunctious news reports of all the benefits to be created by government and particularly by the Department of Energy. You have read little … at least in the general media…of anything constructive done by the petroleum industry during the past six years. But to petroleum industry during the past six years. But to the best of my knowledge, the DOE has not found a barrel of new oil or enough natural gas to fill a penny balloon. That is not true of the industry. penny balloon. That is not true of the industry. Some significant results attach to the stepped up efforts of the industry during the past half dozen years. It is my purpose to review the activity of 1978 with some comparison to the prior year or prior years and to identify some trends. Hopefully, some of the data will help answer the question of whether the $11.6 billion spent last year on drilling and completion of wells was more beneficial than the almost equal amount spent in operation of the Department of Energy.I should like first of all to review trends in production during the past few years. This (Fig 1) is the record for crude and condensate since 1974. Last year we returned to a total higher than 1974, although the upward trend was started in 1977.This (Fig 2) is the daily average production of crude and condensate during the same five years. The increase is almost exclusively due to the stepped up production from the North Slope of Alaska which was felt for an entire year for the first time in 1978. But, as you will see later, gains occurred in some other areas as well. This (Fig 3) is the similar overview with respect to natural gas. We produced more last year than in 1977, but not so much as in 1974 through 1976. Our daily rate of production (Fig 4) stood at 56.05 billion cubic feet per day, down from 60.33 in 1974.Of the 32 states (counting the Gulf of Mexico) as a separate "state" which produced oil and condensate in 1978, eleven or 34.4 percent showed some gain, although in many cases the gains were comparatively small.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.