Total drilling activity in North America increased in 1972 compared with 1971. The year is further highlighted by a substantial increase in new-field wildcat drilling and discoveries.
During 1972 the oil industry drilled more than 29,500 mi of hole in 33,005 wells. Compared with 1971 this is an increase of 7.8% in footage and 6.2% in wells.
Canada showed the greatest increase in both footage and wells, approximately 17%. The 28,755 wells in the United States represent an increase of 5.3% over 1971 drilling. Mexico, however, reports a decrease for this year, 431 wells compared with 516 for the previous year.
The Canadians report an eye-opener increase of 65% in new fields discovered, 137 in 1972 compared with 83 reported in 1971. The United States also reports a substantial increase of 30.5% in new fields discovered, 566 compared with 434.
These 566 new fields found estimated ultimate reserves of 585 million bbl oil and 5.0 Tcf gas. Both reserve figures represent increases compared with 1971 data, 2.8% for oil and 3.2% for gas.
Success of new-field wildcat drilling continues to remain a constant of approximately 10%. For 1972 it was 11.1%. The statistical data for 1972 reemphasize the fact that the number of new-field wildcat discoveries increases proportionately to the increase in exploratory drilling.