Niagaran reef exploration dominated drilling activity for the sixth straight year. Led mainly by Shell Oil Company, exploration was concentrated in the northern counties and southwestward in the Manistee-Mason region of the Western District. Manistee County, with 31 new reefs, led all others; Grand Traverse was second with 21; and Kalkaska was third with 11 new reef discoveries.

Exploration resulted in 94 new discoveries, all reef discoveries except 2. The exceptions were 1 small Dundee Formation pool in the Central District and an extension discovery in the abandoned Tekonsha field, Calhoun County. This Ordovician reservoir is west of the prolific Albion-Scipio trend. Though rated as a small oil producer, it provides incentive to search for another trend similar to the giant field on the east.

Exploratory and development footage, figured from Geological Survey records, amounted to 2,213,183 compared with 1,586,992 in 1973. An additional 151,649 ft is credited to facility and miscellaneous wells drilled in 1974.

Preliminary oil-production figures show a significant increase in the yearly total: 18,076,527 bbl (including 1,187,498 bbl condensate) compared with 14,613,854 bbl in 1973. Preliminary gas-production figures also show a substantial increase: 69,687,425 Mcf compared with 44,802,835 Mcf produced in 1973. The increase in oil and gas production is related directly to Niagaran reef development. As of mid-March, 94 oil wells and 75 gas-condensate wells were awaiting gas sales connections, expected to be made by midyear. A sizable increase in oil and gas production is expected in 1975.

Environmental and ecologic considerations are increasingly important elements in oil and gas exploration and development. The number of directional holes, related to environmental considerations, increased during 1974.

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