Not surprisingly, 1986 was a bad year for drilling activity in the Permian basin. In west Texas and eastern New Mexico, 3,849 wells were drilled, a decline of 50.0% from 1985. The success rate for all wells was 72.4%, down 7.5% from 1985. This sizeable drop was due to the decrease in the price of oil as marginal wells were completed as dry holes. The number of exploratory wells drilled was 31.1% lower than in 1985, and the total exploratory footage drilled was down almost 30% as well. The 1986 exploratory success rate decreased 4.2% from the 1985 rate to 19.6%. Seismic crew activity decreased 46% to its lowest level since 1973. Development well drilling in 1986 decreased 53.2% as development footage drilled decreased 52.5%. Oil production for 1986 was 524,836,270 bbl, down 3.3% from 1985, and gas production was 1,811,214 mmcf, down 8.1% from 1985. Leasing activity decreased sharply from 1985, continuing the downward trend which began in 1981.

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