Houston Exploration Acquires Conoco Assets

The Houston Exploration Company has entered into an agreement to acquire onshore producing properties from Conoco Inc. for $69.0 million in cash.

The producing and undeveloped properties total approximately 28,000 gross acres located in Webb and Zapata counties in south Texas. The acquisition includes interests in 159 wells and provides an approximate 60% increase to the Company's existing south Texas reserve base. The wells are producing from the Upper and Middle Wilcox and Lobo trends in the Alexander, Haynes, Hubbard and South Trevino fields of south Texas. During the first six months of 2001, the properties generated average net sales of approximately 24.2 MMcfe/d.

In addition to the reserves and production being acquired, the new properties double the Company's acreage base in a concentrated area where Houston Exploration has demonstrated considerable expertise. The Company also recently acquired 1,200 square miles of 3-D geophysical data to support its future drilling program. The Company expects a closing date of December 31, 2001 with an effective date of January 1, 2002.