Niagaran reef exploration continued to dominate drilling activity for the fifth straight year. Exploration again was concentrated in the northern counties and southwestward in the Manistee-Mason County region of the Western District. Another pocket of activity was in the Ingham-Eaton-northeastern Calhoun region in the southern part of the basin.

Exploration resulted in 76 new discoveries, including extension and new pools. Most were in the northern and western part of the state. For the first time in the state’s history, there were no pools found in Mississippian or Devonian age rocks. All but one were Silurian Salina A-1 Carbonate—Niagaran or Niagaran reefs. The exception was a Trenton-Black River well resulting from the reworking of an exploratory well drilled about 12 years ago.

Exploratory and development footage, figured from CSD printouts, amounted to 1,468,962 compared with 1,486,258 in 1972. Geological Survey records show a total of 1,586,992 ft plus an additional 132,577 ft credited to facility and miscellaneous wells drilled in 1973. The differences in figures are due to reporting-year policy.

Preliminary oil production figures indicate an increase in the yearly total: 14,613,854 bbl compared with 12,989,922 bbl in 1972. This increase, which includes condensate production, is credited to new Niagaran reef reservoirs. Preliminary gas-production figures show an increase: 44,802,835 Mcf compared with 33,579,163 Mcf in 1972.

Environmental and ecologic considerations are increasingly important in oil and gas exploration and development. The Williamsburg gas eruptions in April 1973 led to further restrictions, strengthening current oil and gas laws and rules.

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