This report, the 17th based on data gathered by the Committee on Statistics of Exploratory Drilling, is the 26th annual summary on the subject published in the Bulletin. Frederic H. Lahee prepared this statistical analysis and wrote the annual article for 20 consecutive years. Graham B. Moody prepared the report for exploratory drilling for 1956, and B. W. Blanpied prepared it for 1957, 1958, and 1959. The report was prepared last year by the senior author of this report and the chairman of the committee. One of the committee members has served as a co-author in the preparation of this year’s report.
During 1961, 10,992 exploratory holes were drilled in the United States; 1,970 of these produced some oil or gas representing 17.92% of all exploratory effort. There were 6,909 new-field wildcats, 745 of which produced some oil or gas, representing 10.78% of all new-field wildcats. New-pool tests (including new-pool wildcats, deeper-pool tests, and shallower-pool tests) for 1961 totaled 1,919 holes, 535 or 27.88% of which produced some oil or gas. There were 2,164 outposts; 690 of them, or 31.89%, produced some oil or gas.
The total exploratory footage drilled in the United States in 1961 was 54,442,127 ft. in the 10,992 holes, or 4,952 ft. per hole. These figures compare with 55,830,636 ft. drilled in 11,704 exploratory holes, with an average depth of 4,770 ft. in 1960.
For the third time we are presenting data on natural gas reserves in the 17-States Area by years, for discoveries having 6 years or more of development history.
Only about 2.7% of all new-field wildcats discover a profitable field although 11-12% produced some oil or gas.
For the 14th time, we are presenting data on Canada and Mexico.