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Petroleum portfolios hit a new record

Surpassing the previous record of $1.813 billion for 1980, investments in public oil and gas programs in the past eight months have reached a new high, $1 .848 billion.

Those figures, released in a report by Investment Search Inc., an Annapolis firm that analyzes oil and gas programs, suggest continuing strong interest in energy investments as tax shelters and income producers.

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The report also covered major trends in the industry such as:

* A substantial increase in sales of the largest programs (those of $15 million or higher) in the first half of this year.

* A shift away from programs primarily aimed at exploratory drilling, with greater interest in those that balance exploration and development.

* The emergence of royalty programs, in which a partnerhsip acquires royalties on producing wells or undrilled properties.

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