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API: US 2Q exploratory drilling up by over 50%

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, July 15 -- Oil and gas producers drilled over 50% more US exploratory wells in the second quarter of this year than a year earlier, the American Petroleum Institute said in its latest quarterly estimate of domestic well completions.

Exploratory well completions, which accounted for nearly 17% of total wells drilled, grew 53% year-to-year, it reported. Oil well completions rose 49% while gas well completions jumped 99% from their level in 2007's second quarter, API said.

"The year-to-year increase in exploratory drilling demonstrates the industry's resolve to explore for and find the oil and natural gas to keep our nation going strong. This is remarkable considering the limited access our industry has to the nation's oil and gas resources," said Hazem Arafa, director of API's statistics department.

API's report said that an estimated 14,289 oil wells, gas wells, and dry holes were drilled domestically during the 3 months ended June 30—8% more than a year earlier.

A resurgence of US oil well completions that began in 2000 has continued, it indicated. An estimated 5,219 wells were drilled during the 2008 second quarter, 17% more than in the comparable 2007 period and the highest second-quarter estimated oil activity since 1986, API said.

It reported that gas remains the primary domestic drilling target, with an estimated 7,561 wells completed during the 2008 second quarter, a level 3% higher year-to-year and more than double the level 10 years ago.
API also reported that total estimated footage drilled this past quarter reached 89,947,000 ft, 14% higher than a year earlier and the greatest second-quarter footage drilled ever.

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