Energy companies filed 3,912 intent-to-drill applications through November, according to Oklahoma Corporation Commission records, already eclipsing last year's total of 3,732.
Intents to drill peaked in 1981 at 22,685, records show. The lowest recorded figure was 2,317 in 1945.
Oil production has been on the rise in Oklahoma since 2009, after a collapse in gas prices spurred producers to switch their focus.
The state's rig count has been relatively consistent this year, with the monthly average staying between 189 and 205 rigs, according to the Corporation Commission.
Companies working in Oklahoma produced more than 75 million barrels of oil last year, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, which collects gross production taxes.
The state's income from gross production taxes on oil has risen steadily over the last four years, hitting more than $530 million in fiscal year 2012, according to Tax Commission records. That helped offset a corresponding decrease in taxes tied to natural gas production, as lower prices limited exploration.
Oklahoma collected $707.3 million gross production taxes on natural gas in fiscal year 2009. That amount dipped to $305.8 million this year.
Tom Price, Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s senior vice president of corporate development and government relations, credited state lawmakers for their support of the oil and gas industry.
“With 2012 natural gas prices at decade-low levels, the Oklahoma Legislature's support for the jobs created by the oil and gas industry through severance tax reductions reflects their understanding of the critical role our industry creates in our state's ongoing prosperity,” Price said. “That support is much appreciated.”
Price also praised Gov. Mary Fallin's efforts to boost demand for natural gas.
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