In 1981, there were 646 wells completed in New York. This figure is partly estimated. In existing fields, 107 oil and 450 gas wells were completed.
The results of exploratory drilling included 12 new gas field discoveries, 4 new gas pool discoveries, 3 deeper pool discoveries, 1 shallower pool discovery, and 36 extensions to existing gas fields.
Two Medina Sandstone discoveries were made in Allegany County. Nine Devonian black shale wells were completed in western New York. An Onondaga reef discovery was made in Cattaraugus County. Three Trenton Limestone discoveries were made in central New York. Arco completed a dry hole in eastern New York near the “Eastern Overthrust” area. A significant oil discovery from the Bass Islands zone below the Onondaga Limestone was made in eastern Chautauqua County. Thirty-five extensions to Medina Sandstone gas fields were completed in 1981. There was also 1 extension to the Houghton, Marcellus black shale gas field. In all, 8 Devonian black shale discoveries, 8 Silurian Medina Sandstone discoveries, and 3 Ordovician Trenton Limestone discoveries were made in New York during 1981.
Oil production in 1981 was 848,969 bbl and gas production amounted to 19,000 mmcf. The price for New York stripper crude was $38.00/bbl on January 1, 1981, and ended the year at $35.00/bbl. Wellhead gas prices ranged up to $3.18/mcf.
In 1981, 6 companies accomplished 49 crew-weeks of reflection seismic work in New York.
A portion of a state park was leased by competitive bidding. Leasing continued in the “Eastern Overthrust” area of eastern New York and in central and western New York.
An amended oil and gas law was passed. One of the main effects will be to substantially increase fees for drilling permits.
FERC Section 107, “Tight Sands,” recommendations for 2 separate applications involving the Medina and Queenston formations in 12 New York counties are pending and approval is expected in 1982.
Drilling for Medina Sandstone gas production and Devonian black shale gas production will continue. However, it is expected that overall drilling will decline due to a softening in crude oil prices and an oversupply of gas. Federal government approval of leasing and drilling for gas in Lake Erie has still not been forthcoming.