Western Oil Boom

May 29, 1981

Report Outline
Faster Pace of Exploration
Declining Reserves and Output
Extending the Petroleum Era
Special Focus

Faster Pace of Exploration

Effect of High Prices and Decontrols

The U.S. oil and gas industry is going all out to find what's left of the nation's petroleum resources. At remote sites all over the country, giant rigs are drilling two miles or more into the earth in search of new deposits. In Alaska, along the Rocky Mountain chain and in offshore coastal waters, drilling crews are exploring what may be the last frontiers of America's petroleum era.

President Reagan's energy policies have spurred a drilling boom that has been building up across the continent since world oil prices began skyrocketing eight years ago. The president on Jan. 28 lifted the last federal oil price controls, and his administration has pledged to turn the hard-driving oil industry loose to find new onshore and offshore reserves.

U.S. oil discoveries peaked half a century ago. Natural gas finds have fallen off since about 1950. At best, some experts maintain, stepped-up drilling will only briefly halt a steady fall in American oil and gas production and reserves. A recent Rand Corp. study conducted for the government suggests that “the U.S. petroleum industry is gradually running out of ideas as to where oil and gas may still be found.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Jun. 22, 2012  U.S. Oil Dependence
Nov. 01, 2011  Future of the Gulf States
Jan. 04, 2008  Oil Jitters Updated
Jul. 2007  Energy Nationalism
Sep. 30, 2005  Domestic Energy Development
Jan. 24, 2003  Oil Diplomacy
Aug. 07, 1998  Oil Production in the 21st Century
Aug. 23, 1991  Oil Imports
Oct. 30, 1987  Persian Gulf Oil
Apr. 04, 1986  Oil Prices
Dec. 23, 1983  Quest for Energy Independence
Sep. 23, 1983  OPEC: 10 Years After the Arab Oil Boycott
May 29, 1981  Western Oil Boom
Aug. 25, 1978  Oil Imports
Feb. 10, 1978  Oil Antitrust Action
Dec. 17, 1976  Alaskan Development
May 17, 1974  Arab Oil Money
Mar. 15, 1974  Oil Taxation
Jul. 18, 1973  Offshore Oil Search
Mar. 28, 1973  Persian Gulf Oil
Nov. 01, 1972  Gasoline Prices
Oct. 14, 1970  Fuel Shortages
Nov. 12, 1969  Alaskan Oil Boom
Dec. 11, 1968  Oil Shale Development
Oct. 26, 1960  World Oil Glut
Sep. 10, 1958  Middle East Oil
Oct. 30, 1951  Oil Nationalization
Aug. 11, 1950  Oil Imports
Apr. 23, 1947  Oil of the Middle East
Jan. 22, 1946  Offshore Oil
Mar. 09, 1944  Oil Supply
Dec. 24, 1935  Oil in World Politics
May 07, 1931  Control of Production in the Oil Industry
Mar. 27, 1929  The Oil Leasing Policy of the New Administration
Jun. 08, 1927  Oil Conservation and Stabilization
Feb. 08, 1926  The Mexican Land and Petroleum Laws
Apr. 18, 1925  The Price of Gasoline
Feb. 11, 1924  Background of the Oil Lease Cases
Sep. 01, 1923  Gasoline
Energy and the Environment
Oil and Natural Gas