In 1959, 977 holes were drilled in the Arizona and Western New Mexico District. This represents an increase of 11.4% over the 1958 total of 877 wells. Of the 1959 total, 187 were exploratory holes that resulted in 77 successful discoveries and extensions. As a result, this district enjoyed a remarkable 41.2% success ratio for exploratory holes of all types.
Exploration in the San Juan basin of northwestern New Mexico was directed toward stratigraphic traps in the various Upper Cretaceous units, particularly toward the Gallup and Dakota formations in the deeper parts of the basin.
Exploration in Arizona used conventional surface tools such as gravity, seismic, plane table, and core drill. The Black Mesa basin of Arizona continued to undergo moderate wildcat drilling. The results were very disappointing except in one case where a new-field wildcat discovered oil in a porous dolomite of Mississippian age. This is the first commercial Mississippian production in the area.
In the Lucero basin of west-central New Mexico several wildcats were drilled on surface structures that encountered varying thicknesses of porous marine Permian sandstones and Pennsylvanian limestones. This porous marine carbonate section in the Pennsylvanian stimulated an active lease play with plans for several more wildcats to be drilled in the area in 1960.
There were 12,765,761 bbls. of oil, 308,435,489 MCF of gas and 803,018 bbls. of condensate produced in the Arizona and western New Mexico District during the year.