Houston Exploration Announces Discoveries

The Houston Exploration Company announced three discoveries offshore Louisiana and Texas in the Gulf of Mexico.

South Timbalier 317 No. 1 exploration well was spud late August by the Ocean Ambassador. The initial well has been drilled to a total depth of 9,666 feet. On a sustained production test, from perforations 5,896 feet to 6,040 feet MD, the well flowed 1,584 barrels of oil and 900 Mcf/d on a 18/64 choke, 2,410 psi FTP. Based on the test results from this well the Company anticipates rates of 3000 barrels of oil per day. Potential reserves are estimated at 12 million barrels of oil. Additional undrilled fault blocks offer unrisked exploration potential of an approximately 12 million barrels of oil. This discovery will require a new 8-10 well platform to be installed in 457 feet of water. First production is expected in late fourth quarter 2001 or first quarter 2002. Houston Exploration is the operator and has a 55 percent working interest. Houston Exploration also owns a 50 percent working interest in South Timbalier 318, Ewing Bank 908 and Ewing Bank 952, which are contiguous with South Timbalier 317. Drilling plans for these blocks are enhanced with this new information.

Mustang Island 726 No. 1 well has been drilled to 5,309 TVD by the Ocean Tower. Over 100 feet of net oil and gas pay was encountered between 4,077 feet and 5,070 feet TVD. This discovery will require a platform to be installed in water depth of 80 feet. First production is expected in late second quarter 2001. THX has a 55 percent working interest in this block. A second test well in Block 726 is currently drilling.

The High Island 115 No. 3 exploration well was spud late August by the RBF 202 and has recently been completed and tested. The well was drilled to 10,368 TVD to test the shallow prospect on the Block. Approximately 26 feet of net gas pay was encountered at 9,739 feet. The well has been completed and tested at a rate of 6,243 Mcf and 82 barrels of condensate per day. A flow line will tie this well to an existing platform for processing. First production is expected in January 2001. Houston Exploration owns a 78 percent working interest in this prospect. The deep prospect on Block 115 will be tested by another exploration well in 2001.

Houston Exploration will continue its offshore exploration program with wells at: High Island 138, High Island A-589, High Island 115 (deep prospect), and East Cameron 285. The Company will also drill development wells at Mustang Island A-31 and Mustang Island A-22. These additional wells have grossed unrisked reserve potential of approximately 200 Bcfe and are expected to spud in the first quarter of 2001.

The Company is also pleased to announce that it has been awarded 7 leases from the Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 177 held in August. The new lease blocks are Matagorda Island A-5, Matagorda Island 714, Matagorda Island 715, Galveston 390, High Island A-4, High Island A-591 and Sabine Pass 40. Additionally, The Company was also awarded 5 leases bid in the Texas State Waters Lease Sale held in October.

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