McMoRan Exploration Co. has signed an agreement with Texaco that will allow it to explore some or all of the ninety Texaco Gulf of Mexico oil and gas properties. The tracts are located on the Outer Continental Shelf area of the Gulf of Mexico and cover a total of 391,349 gross acres. The blocks are located in water depths ranging from 10 to 2,600 feet. McMoRan agreed that it would commit more than $100 million for exploration drilling over the next four years. Texaco has the right to participate in the prospects McMoRan chooses to drill, but McMoRan will be the operator and could earn interests in the exploration tracts. In addition to roughly 400 unexplored deepwater blocks in the Outer Continental Shelf, Texaco will retain its ongoing shelf producing operations along with certain development areas outside of the agreement.