Marathon Acquires Acreage Offshore Nova Scotia

Marathon Canada Limited announced the addition of two more exploration tracts offshore Nova Scotia. Marathon was high bidder on parcels 5 and 6 in the latest offshore bid round announced recently by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. Marathon's interests offshore Nova Scotia now extend to five exploration licenses, covering 1.92 million acres in total. The awards are subject to formal governmental approval.

Marathon bid alone on Parcel 5, Exploration License 2410, securing the license with a high bid of $176.7 million Canadian (approximately $115 million U.S.). On Parcel 6, Exploration License 2411, Marathon and two co-venturers submitted a high bid of $193.6 million Canadian (approximately $125 million U.S.). Marathon will be operator of the consortium holding a 50% interest, with Murphy Oil Company Ltd., and Norsk Hydro Canada Oil & Gas Inc., each holding a 25% interest. The bids represent estimated expenditures for exploration activities during the initial five-year period of a nine-year license.

"We are excited that our bids were accepted for these new exploration licenses and that we are able to strengthen our position in an area we see as having great potential," said Phil Behrman, senior vice president of Worldwide Exploration for Marathon. "We expect to start drilling on the nearby Annapolis block by the end of November and plan additional activity in 2002."

The Annapolis well will be drilled on offshore Exploration License 2377, 220 miles south of Nova Scotia in 5,700 feet of water. The well will be drilled in the deepest water to date offshore Nova Scotia and take approximately 60 days to drill. Marathon has contracted the West Navion, a modern drillship specifically designed to operate in ultra deepwater and in harsh weather environments such as those experienced in the North Atlantic. Prior to drilling in Nova Scotia, the West Navion has operated offshore Greenland, the Mediterranean, and the North Sea. Marathon is operator of the Annapolis well with a 30% interest. Other members of the consortium are PanCanadian Petroleum Limited, a subsidiary of PanCanadian Energy Corporation, (26% interest), Norsk Hydro Canada Oil & Gas Inc., (25% interest), and Murphy Oil Company Ltd., (19% interest).

In addition, Marathon is currently participating in a well on the Southhampton block with a 37.5% interest. Partners include PanCanadian Petroleum Limited, a subsidiary of PanCanadian Energy Corporation, (operator with 37.5% interest) and Murphy Oil Company Ltd., (25% interest).

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