Twenty-five exploratory wells were drilled in Alaska in 1980. Five oil or gas discovery wells were drilled on the North Slope. One hundred and seventeen development and service wells were drilled and completed, primarily in the Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk River fields on the North Slope.

Geologic-geophysical field activity consisted of 115.74 crew months, an increase of almost 50% compared to 1979. These increases affected most of the major basins of the state as industry stepped up preparations for future lease sales.

Federal acreage under lease increased slightly, while state lease acreage showed a slight decline. The year’s oil production showed an increase of 16%, while gas production was down slightly.

The federal land freeze in Alaska showed signs of thawing, as the U.S. Department of Interior asked industry to identify areas of interest onshore for possible future leasing. National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska was opened to private exploration, and petroleum potential of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge will be studied. One outer continental shelf lease sale was held in the eastern Gulf of Alaska, and a series of state and federal lease sales were announced for the next 5 yr.

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