Houston Exploration Has Strong Third Quarter



The Houston Exploration Company reported third quarter net income of $22.5 million, or $0.73 per share on a fully diluted basis. Net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2001, was $105.7 million, or $3.45 per share on a fully diluted basis. This compares with third quarter 2000 net income of $19.7 million, or $0.66 per share on a fully diluted basis, and net income for the corresponding nine-month period of 2000 of $44.4 million or $1.60 per share on a fully diluted basis.

Production for the third quarter of 2001 was 22.0 Bcfe, a 15 percent increase from the 19.1 Bcfe produced in the third quarter of 2000. The Company is pleased to report that its average realized gas price in the third quarter of 2001 was $3.53 per Mcf compared with $3.24 per Mcf in the third quarter a year ago. For the nine months of 2001, the average realized gas price was $4.53 per Mcf compared with $2.88 per Mcf for the nine months of 2000. Approximately 97 percent of Houston Exploration's 2001 production is natural gas.

William G. Hargett, President and Chief Executive stated, "I am pleased with our third quarter results. The Company has implemented changes in senior management and corporate structure to improve the focus of our onshore and offshore operating divisions. We believe this will maximize our operating performance and provide a strong platform for Houston Exploration's growth plans. With production volumes hedged at attractive prices for the remainder of 2001and 2002, combined with our strong balance sheet, the Company is well positioned to capitalize on opportunities in the current business cycle."

Robert B. Catell, Chairman of the Board of The Houston Exploration Company, said, "Houston Exploration continues to provide investors with strong earnings and returns derived from consistent production and strategic risk management as evidenced by its successful hedging program. I continue to be pleased by our operating results and management's efforts to maximize overall performance."

Discretionary cash flow for the third quarter of 2001 totaled $63.5 million, or $2.06 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared with discretionary cash flow of $47.5 million, or $1.60 per share on fully diluted basis, for the third quarter a year ago. Discretionary cash flow for the nine-month period was $247.4 million, or $8.08 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared with $119.6 million, or $4.31 per share on a fully diluted basis for the corresponding nine-month period in 2000.

For the third quarter of 2001, lease-operating expenses totaled $6.4 million, or $0.29 per unit, compared with $5.3 million, or $0.28 per unit, a year ago. For the nine-month period, lease-operating expenses totaled $19.4 million or $0.29 per unit, compared with $17.4 million or $0.30 per unit for the corresponding nine-month period in 2000.