McMoRan Exploration Co. announced the discovery of natural gas at Eugene Island 193 No.3 (North Tern-deep) - exploration well. The Eugene Island Block 193 No.3 exploratory well (North Tern-deep prospect) has hit 230 feet of net gas pay in two sands, the first between 16,460 and 16,613 feet and the second between 16,790 and 16,952 feet. The initial target objective for the Eugene Island 193 North Tern prospect was a gross unrisked potential of approximately 50 billion cubic feet of natural gas (bcf). However, the pay sands encountered are approximately twice as thick as indicated by the 3-D seismic data and, therefore, McMoRan believes this prospect could recover 100 bcf or more. McMoRan anticipates the well can be completed and put on production during the second quarter of 2001 utilizing the Eugene Island 193-A platform acquired in 2000. Although the No.3 well has not been flow tested, because of the thickness and porosity of the sands, McMoRan believes the well could produce at an initial flow rate of approximately 50 million cubic feet of natural gas per day (mmcf/d). McMoRan has a 53.4 percent working interest and a 42.9 percent net revenue interest. McMoRan controls 10,000 acres in the area in approximately 90 feet of water, approximately 50 miles offshore Louisiana.