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API Reports Rise in First Quarter Oil, Gas Drilling Activity

Domestic crude oil and natural gas drilling showed a marked increase during the first quarter of the year, according to a report released by the American Petroleum Institute (API) last Wednesday.

An estimated 11,527 oil wells, natural gas wells and dry holes were completed during the latest three-month period, up 9% from the 10,534 completions that occurred during the first quarter of 2005, the Washington, DC-based energy trade group said in its first-quarter report on U.S. drilling activity.

API reported that oil drilling activity outpaced gas drilling during the period. Oil well completions climbed 10% to 3,358, while natural gas completions rose 8% to 6,957 wells. Dry holes shot up 16% to 1,212.

Completions of exploratory wells increased 12% in the first quarter and development completions were up 9% compared to the year-earlier period, according to API. It also reported a spurt in total footage drilled, up 12% to 63.39 million feet in the first quarter.

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