Oklahoma produced 137,997,267 barrels of crude oil during 1942, or a loss of 14,016,675 barrels from 1941. This is 7,014,133 barrels short of the state allocation of 145,011,400 barrels based on the State Corporation Commission’s estimate of demands for 1942. Declines were recorded in most of the important producing counties, but 88 per cent of the total decline occurred in the five leading counties which produced 55.9 per cent of the state total. The 14 million-barrel loss in production represents a 9.2 per cent decline which is considerably in excess of the national decline of 5.3 per cent. Oklahoma produced 9.9 per cent of the nation’s crude oil in 1942, while in 1941 this rate was 10.8 per cent. This decline threatens Oklahoma’s rating as the third producing state in the union.
New discoveries and extensions increased the estimated reserves of Oklahoma by 73,797,000 barrels, but this is offset by production of 137,997,267 barrels, or a net loss in estimated reserves of 64,200,000 barrels. Total estimated reserves as of December 31, 1942, are 968,927,000 barrels.
While production and reserves declined, exploratory work increased, particularly in the use of seismograph and stratigraphic tests. The increase from 281 crew months of seismograph work in 1941 to 358 crew months in 1942 represents an increase of 27 per cent, while the number of stratigraphic holes increased from 23 to 44, or an increase of 91 per cent in the same time. Two methods of geophysical prospecting employed in 1941 were not reported in 1942.
There were 1,191 wells drilled, representing a decline of 45 per cent under 1941 when 2,162 wells were completed. Exploratory wells on the other hand declined only 7 per cent or from 271 exploratory wells in 1941 to 253 exploratory wells in 1942. This exploratory search yielded 75 successful operations of which 39 are classed as new pools, as against 81 successful operations with 41 new pools in 1941. The percentage of successful wells to the total exploratory wells is 29.6 in 1942 against 29.9 in 1941. The Pauls Valley pool was the most important discovery of the year.
New reserves must be discovered if Oklahoma is to maintain her status among the oil producing states. Present producing formations, chiefly Pennsylvanian and Ordovician sands, appear inadequate to supply the demand. The Arbuckle limestone produces in North Texas, in eastern Oklahoma, and in Kansas. It is one of the chief producing formations in the Oklahoma City pool, but with this exception it is practically untested in central Oklahoma.