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Circular 48—Petroleum developments in New Mexico during 1956

By R. W. Foster and R. A. Bieberman, 1957, 19 pp., 11 figs.

Also in this series are Circulars 50, 52, 72, and 96. Production of both oil and gas set new records for the state of NM during 1956. Total oil produced amounted to 87,920,489 barrels, and natural gas, 609,441,169,000 ft3. Nationwide, NM ranks 7th in the production of crude oil and 4th in the production of natural gas. More than 2,000 wells were drilled in 1956, a slight increase over 1955. There was a decrease in the number of wells drilled in southeastern NM, but this was more than offset by increases in the San Juan Basin. Eighty percent of all the wells drilled in the state were successfully completed, and 22% of the wildcat tests found new oil or gas fields. A discussion of developments in each of the eight producing counties in NM is included, together with maps showing the location of new discoveries. Wildcat tests were drilled in half of the reaming 24 nonproducing counties.

Oil was discovered in southeastern NM in 1909, at Dayton, in Eddy County, and in northwestern NM in 1911, near Seven Lakes, in McKinley County. From these first small discoveries, the NM petroleum industry has grown until it is now the largest mineral industry in the state. The importance of petroleum to the economy of NM can be seen in the rapid yet stable growth of such communities as Roswell, Hobbs, and Farmington, located in the producing areas of the state. In 1956, the value of the oil and gas produced in NM was in excess of $317 million. The state now ranks 7th in the production of crude oil and 4th in the production of natural gas in the U.S. This report gives a summary of developments and important new discoveries of the year, and a comparison with the production records of preceding years.

Oil and gas were produced in eight of the 32 counties in New Mexico during 1956. Production of oil showed an increase of about 6 million barrels over 1955 for a new record yearly production of 87,920,489 barrels. Almost 88% of all the crude oil produced in NM came from Lea County, and 10% was produced in Chaves and Eddy Counties. San Juan, Rio Arriba, McKinley, Sandoval, and Roosevelt Counties, in that order, made up the remaining 2%.

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