There were 7,849 wells drilled in western Canada during 1988. Total meterage drilled was 9,489,399 m, for an average well depth of 1,208 m. The total well count represents an increase of 15% from 1987; the average depth, however, dropped 1.6% from 1,228 m in 1987. The cased-hole success rate for exploratory wells was 55.8% on a per well basis and 53.6% on a meterage basis. Land expenditures fell dramatically in 1988. Total bonuses declined 17% to $658 million in 1988, while the volume of acreage rose 27.3% to 3.73 million ha. The average bid per hectare fell from $270.825 in 1987 to $176.50 in 1988.

In Alberta, Cretaceous gas was discovered in the south and east, particularly in the Hector, Badger, Long Coulee, Jenner, and Sunnynook areas. Paleozoic gas was discovered in the overthrust Mississippian at Ram River, and in the Devonian in the Berland River and Kaybob areas. Oil was discovered in the Devonian Wabamun and the Triassic Halfway on the Peace River arch; in the Devonian Keg River off the northeast nose of the arch; and in the Keg River pinnacles of the Zama subbasin. Industry was chasing a deep play in the Twining area in 1988, but little information was available at press time.

Industry was active in British Columbia during 1988. Shell made a significant discovery in the Triassic at Boulder (NTS 93-0), whereas Canadian Hunter continued its exploration of the extension of Elmworth field. Discoveries were made in the Mississippian Kiskatinaw, Triassic Montney and Halfway, and Devonian Slave Point formations in 1988. Interest in finding gas storage reservoirs and hydrocarbons on the Fraser delta continued as a 290-km seismic program was shot to delineate prospects. In addition, negotiations on ending the moratorium on offshore drilling continued between the federal and provincial governments.

Manitoba had a 58% drop in drilling activity during 1988 to only 69 wells, and this resulted in only a 20% success rate.

On the Northwest Territories mainland, 3 exploratory dry holes were drilled. In the Beaufort Sea, an exploratory well by Gulf at Amauligak West, 4 km west of the Amauligak structure, discovered oil which tested at rates of 1,050 m3/day.

In Saskatchewan, Jurassic oil was discovered in the Wapella and Battle Creek areas, Createceous Viking oil was discovered on the Verendrye-Inglenook trend, and Devonian Winnipegosis oil was discovered at Macoun and Hitchcock. The shallow gas boom in southwest Saksatchewan continued in 1988 with 574 gas completions in the Burstall, Free-fight, and Hatton areas, and 78 gas wells in the Bigstick and Crane Lake areas.

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