1984 was a surprisingly good year for drilling activity in the Permian basin. 8,012 wells were drilled in west Texas and eastern New Mexico, almost 14% more than in 1983. The success rate for all wells continued to climb, reaching 83.5%, up 3.7% from 1983. Exploratory drilling was up almost 5% to 1,080 wells. Total exploratory footage increased 8%, and the success rate for exploratory tests increased 1.5% to 26.9%. Development drilling also increased with 6,932 wells drilled, up 15.5% from 1983. This was only 150 wells shy of the record set in 1982. The overall development success rate climbed from 89.2% to 92.4%, reflecting increased emphasis on “safe” drilling. These overall increases stand in sharp contrast to gas well drilling efforts. Exploratory gas completions declined 12.8%, and development gas well drilling was down 33.4%, a result of lower gas prices and a weak market. Oil and gas production in 1984 increased for the first time in 10 years. Total oil production was 551,911,001 bbl, an increase of 0.3% from 1983. Gas production was 2,006,907 mmcf, up 0.6%. Seismic activity increased in 1984, maintaining a trend started the year before. 1,993 seismic crew-weeks were reported, up almost 4% from 1983. Overall leasing interest declined again for the third year in a row. Glasscock, Midland, and Hockley Counties, Texas, however, continued to be areas of vigorous activity.

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