U.S. energy firms drilled a total of 10,173 unconventional oil and natural gas wells in 2011 up from 7,077 in 2010 and 5,531 in 2009, according to a report from the American Petroleum Institute. About $65.5 billion was spent on such projects in 2011, which represents an 87.6% increase from 2010 figures, the report found. "The rising numbers illustrate the growing importance of shale drilling in U.S. oil and natural gas development," said Hazem Arafa, API's statistics director.

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