Marine Drilling Companies, Inc. issued the following information on the status of its Marine 500 and Marine 700 drilling rigs. The upgrades on the semisubmersible, Marine 500 are complete and the rig has been moved to the anchorage location for testing of its drilling equipment. The rated water depth of the Marine 500 has been increased from 600 to 5,000 feet. It is expected that the equipment commissioning will be completed during the first full week of July after which the rig will set sail for Western Australia to drill for West Australian Petroleum. The rig will be under contract until December 31, 2001. The Marine 700 has been moved to Friede Goldman’s west-bank facility to continue to commission the rig systems now that physical construction is complete. Commissioning is currently approximately 92% complete and Marine Drilling continues to believe that it will meet the July 15th deadline under the five-year contract with Esso Exploration, Inc. However, there is still some risk that the deadline will not be met.