Thunderbolt Strikes Again

McMoRan Exploration Co. announced that its Eugene Island Block 97 No. 3 exploratory well (Thunderbolt prospect) has encountered an additional sand interval with 94 gross feet (75 feet net) of highly resistive sands indicating potential hydrocarbons by electric wireline log between 15,098 and 15,192 feet true vertical depth. The well was drilled to a true vertical depth of 16,416 feet (measured depth of 18,302 feet). Production casing will be run over the new pay zone. This additional 75 feet of net pay in the Thunderbolt No. 3 well brings the total net pay in the well to over 300 feet.

McMoRan also announced that it has confirmed by electric wireline log approximately 230 net feet of the previously reported net pay zones within a 725-foot section between 14,025 and 14,750 feet true vertical depth. Production casing has already been run over these previously announced pay zones. Because of the shallow water depth and the close proximity to existing production facilities, the Thunderbolt No. 3 can be brought on production quickly.

McMoRan holds a 38.0 percent working interest and a 27.4 percent net revenue interest in the Eugene Island 97 No.3 well. Ocean Energy, Inc., the operator, holds a 35.0 percent working interest; Samedan Oil Corporation holds a 25.0 percent working interest; and an individual investor holds the remaining 2.0 percent working interest in the prospect. The Eugene Island 97 discovery is located in 27 feet of water, approximately 25 miles offshore Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. McMoRan controls 20,000 acres in the area.

As previously reported, McMoRan has also identified a related prospect at a greater depth in the immediate area of Eugene Island Block 97 (Hornung-deep prospect). The Hornung deep prospect has gross un-risked potential of approximately 1.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and is expected to be drilled to approximately 21,000 feet during the first half of 2002.