The Permian basin continues to be one of the most active areas of petroleum and gas exploration and development in the United States; 778 exploratory wells and 2,997 development wells have been drilled. This is a reduction of 114 exploratory wells compared to 1965. Exploratory well success was 26.4%, and development well success was 86%. Gas exploration continued to increase, with important gas reserves being found in the Delaware basin.
Crude production increased 7.7% in 1966 compared to 1965. This increase was the result of completion of 2,516 oil wells during 1966, successful implementation of secondary-recovery projects, and the higher Texas proration factor in 1966 than in 1965.
The most active and successful exploratory areas were the Central Basin platform and the Delaware basin. The most active development trends were the Cato-Chaveroo trend in Chaves and Roosevelt Counties, New Mexico, and the Spraberry trend of West Texas.
Seismic exploration decreased only 1% compared to 1965, which may indicate the end of the downward trend.
Leasing continued at a high level of activity. Large cash bonus prices were paid for good acreage. Key acreage in the Delaware basin sub-province brought the highest prices in the area, whereas $1.00 per acre or less was paid in the nonproductive frontier.