Houston Exploration Says Production Still Shut-In

The Houston Exploration Company said that while the eye of Hurricane Rita passed within 30 miles of more than 80 percent of the company's offshore operations, to date all fields have now been visually inspected and the damage appears to be minimal.

However, as a result of Hurricane Rita, infrastructure problems have been created onshore, causing more than 75 percent of the company's Gulf of Mexico production to remain shut-in, for a current net production rate from the offshore region of 36 MMcfe per day. At the end of August the Gulf of Mexico was producing 155 MMcfe per day, net. In addition, also due to hurricane- related problems associated with onshore facilities located along the coast, the company had to shut-in 21 MMcfe per day of net production in South Texas from September 21 until September 27.

The company believes that the key drivers in resuming production to planned levels will involve a further assessment of the damage which occurred to the coastal onshore facilities and to the pipelines, neither of which is operated by Houston Exploration. The company will release a more detailed hurricane production summary and revised company-wide 2005 production guidance as soon as they are available.