Studies and reevaluations of petroleum resources made recently indicate that full self-sufficiency for domestic natural resources by 1980 is unlikely. Most investigators believe some measure of independence must be achieved by 1985. By 1985 our oil imports may increase to one half of our consumption, in comparison with one third at the present time. A recent article pointed out that United States self-sufficiency would require a $310 billion investment during the 12 years 1974–1984; however, costs of deeper drilling and continued inflation probably will increase this figure to $500 billion.
Petroleum Information’s data and experience have been matched with part of the economic model developed by Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and published as the Conference Board’s prediction of U.S. future energy requirements. During the past 20 years, the annual drilling rate reached a maximum of over 57,000 wells in 1956 and a minimum of 26,328 wells in 1971. Oil-well completions were highest in 1956 (31,000 wells) and lowest in 1973 (9,000 wells). Only one eighth of the wells completed after gas price regulations became effective were completed as gas wells, but one fourth of the wells completed in 1974, with new gas price incentives, were gas wells. In order to maintain our present ratio of reserves to production, we should be completing twice as many wells as the expected total for 1974. Furthermore, we must sustain that higher rate of completion each year through 1985.
Model studies necessary for economic evaluation of energy resources require information data banks such as the one available at Petroleum Information. Our proposed study would be made by geologic provinces within geographic areas. It would include reserves information, economic data, statistical evaluations, and other information; 6-month updates would be made. Evaluations would be made by us.e of a probability model which considers exploration as a sampling process. Benefits of the project would be revealed in the consistent figures for proved oil and gas reserves, sufficiently detailed for economic study.