Gaz de France is waiting for approval from the UK DTI to drill a gas exploration well in Block 44/17b located in the southern North Sea. Once approval has been granted one exploration would be spud sometime in March of 2003. Two previous wells have encountered gas shows. The most likely option for development would be via a single producer subsea tie-back to the nearby CMS III system, operated by Conoco, although BP's Tyne field infrastructure and Tyne-Trent pipeline is also a possibility. Gaz de France is operator of the block with a 100% interest.