Petroleum production in Europe outside the Soviet zone increased only 3.5% over the preceding year, to a rate of 237,921 bbls. per day, a slowing down of the large annual increases since the end of World War II. However, German production increased more than 12%, Italian and Yugoslav both by 13%, and Dutch by 6%, while Austria showed a marked decline. In France the first commercial production was obtained in the Paris basin, with 4 new fields, 3 producing from the Jurassic and one from the Lower Cretaceous. There was a large production increase in natural gas from the large Lacq deep gas field in southwestern France, but oil production declined slightly. In NW Germany an important oil discovery was made in a stratigraphic trap E of the Emsland fields, and a significant new field was found in Holstein SE of Kiel. The greatest exploration success ratio was in the Molasse basin N of the Alps, where 2 oil and 5 gas fields were discovered. In Italy natural-gas production increased only 2%, but 2 apparently significant new gas fields were discovered in the Po valley, the main gas-producing area. A new heavy-oil field was found near the Gela field in southern Sicily. In the Netherlands production declined in the large Schoonebeek field in the eastern part of the country but this was more than offset by increases in the Rotterdam-The Hague region, where 2 small oil fields were added to the list of producing areas there. In the United Kingdom oil production declined slightly, but a new oil field was found in Carboniferous sands in the Midlands, and one gas and 2 minor oil discoveries were made. In Yugoslavia important discoveries in Croatia indicated that major production increases could be expected in 1959. The first deep exploratory well was started in Malta. An oil concession was granted to an American company covering all of Eire. Active exploratory drilling continued, but without success, in Denmark, Spain, Portugal, and European Turkey, and a new depth record for a well in Spain was made. Some interesting geological information holes were drilled in Belgium during the last several years.

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