By the beginning of 1972, Conoco was firmly in the saddle as operator in the northern U.K. North Sea. We had completed numerous seismic programmes on open areas and also obtained a one-mile grid on existing licenses. The company made an aggressive application for 38 blocks in U.K. Licensing Round 4 in 1972 with a commitment of considerable seismic and wells. A new area was also opened in the Atlantic Ocean west of the Shetland Islands.
By 1973, the company obtained sufficient rig power to enter into an active drilling programme in the North Sea. Three additional gas discoveries were drilled in the gas area and three wildcats in the oil area. The Hutton field was discovered.
Drilling activity continued in 1974 where an additional gas discovery was established in the U.K. gas area. Six wildcats were drilled in the U.K. northern oil area in 1975, resulting in three discoveries, among them the Murchison field.