Duke Energy and Houston Energy form Exploration Partnership

Duke Energy Hydrocarbons, a wholly owned subsidiary of Duke Energy announced a new exploration partnership with Houston Energy, Inc., to be called Elite Exploration, LP. Elite Exploration will develop exploration prospects in the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana and on the outer continental shelf, offshore Louisiana and Texas.

Under the terms of the partnership, Duke Energy Hydrocarbons will underwrite the cost of the staff and technical data. Houston Energy will provide the prospect generation capability and day-to-day oversight.

"Duke Energy is pleased to be entering into this partnership with Houston Energy," said Mike Kimner, president of Duke Energy Hydrocarbons. "Houston Energy is a proven prospect generator. The new business relationship will seek to maximize the strengths of both companies by integrating the leading prospect generation capabilities of Houston Energy with the advanced energy- marketing and commodity-price risk management capabilities of Duke Energy." Ron E. Neal, Houston Energy co-founder, general partner and exploration geologist, stated, "This venture is a great opportunity for Houston Energy to expand its Gulf Coast area exploration program. Houston Energy seeks to create and assemble quality drilling opportunities based on a thorough integration and refinement of all available data. We could not be more delighted with the quality partner we have in Duke Energy."