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PETROLEUM ENGINEER INTERNATIONAL REPORTS U.S. DEEP OIL AND GAS DRILLING ACTIVITY DECLINES, COSTS RISE

 HOUSTON, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. deep well drilling activity fell to a 34-year low in 1992, according to an exclusive report by Petroleum Engineer International magazine.
 Other facts uncovered by the magazine include:
 -- Operators drilled 209 wells below 15,000 ft. in 12 states last year -- the lowest number since 1958, when 197 deep wells were completed.
 -- The average cost per well jumped by more than $1 million, from $3.949 million in 1991 to $4.966 million in 1992. Cumulatively, drillers spent more than $1 billion on deep drilling projects last year.
 -- The average number of bits used per well declined from 25 in 1991 to 19 last year.
 -- The average cost of an offshore deep well was significantly higher than on land -- $6.881 million vs. $4.399 million respectively.
 -- Of the 209 deep wells drilled in the United States during 1992, 31 offshore wells were drilled to an average 17,154 ft. -- down from the 40 wells drilled to an average depth of 17,332 ft. in 1991. The 178 onshore wells drilled to a 16,669-ft. average depth remained relatively constant with the previous year's 176 onshore wells with a 16,745-ft. average depth.
 -- About 19 percent of U.S. offshore and 51 percent of onshore deep wells were oil or gas producers.
 -- The year's two deepest wells were drilled in Oklahoma. A well in Beckham County reached 24,900 ft., and another in Washita County reached 22,600 ft.
 "Overall, low oil prices have hurt the economics of high-cost deep drilling projects. Oil companies are using advanced reservoir characterization technology to uncover more cost-effective shallow reservoirs," according to Petroleum Engineer International editor Jeff Littleton. "The increase in U.S. offshore deep drilling cost reflects more activity in the Mobile Bay area off Alabama. These wells require exotic tubular alloys to protect against the highly- corrosive production streams characteristic of Norphlet reservoirs."
 Petroleum Engineer International began reporting U.S. deep well drilling activity and costs in 1947. Data used to assemble the report was compiled from a confidential survey of operating companies responsible for deep well drilling in 1992.
 Petroleum Engineer International, the magazine of drilling and production technology, is edited specifically for upstream oil and gas engineering, operating and management leaders in the industry. PEI is published by Denver-based Hart Publications, Inc., one of the premier publishers in the worldwide oil and gas industry. Hart Publications also publishes Oil and Gas Investor, London-based Euroil magazine and PipeLine Digest.
 -0- 3/16/93
 /CONTACT: Jennifer Wunder of Hart Publications, Inc., 301-340-2100/


CO: Petroleum Engineer International; Hart Publications, Inc. ST: Texas IN: PUB OIL SU:

IH-KD -- DC025 -- 6731 03/16/93 16:32 EST
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Date:Mar 16, 1993
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