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Don't expect Reagan's decontrol of oil, gasoline, and propane prices to boost drilling activity in the United States. The drilling industry is already operating at near capacity. Even with the incentive of higher prices, energy prospectors won't be able to work much faster than they already are. Domestic drilling activity set another record last week, and energy officials say new rigs are being put to work as fast as the construction industry can turn them out.

One Texas drilling contractor recently formed a new company and quickly rounded up enough investors to place orders for 42 rigs. Said one industry source: "That is just unheard of."$$ Nm

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