Nexen To Invest 20% of Capital in 2003 Exploration Program

Nexen says that an important component of the company's value-based growth strategy is a strong grass roots exploration program. In 2003, Nexen plans to invest about 20% of its $1.3 billion capital investment program to test almost 900 million barrels of resource potential. The high impact exploration program includes testing prospects in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and delineating existing discoveries offshore Nigeria.

Approximately half of the exploration capital will be directed to an active exploration program in the Gulf of Mexico. Plans are being made to drill at least five high-potential exploration wells, including deepwater tests in the Alaminos Canyon, Green Canyon and Garden Banks areas, plus a deep Miocene gas prospect on the shelf. Additional wells could be drilled based upon success and partner priorities. "We view the Gulf of Mexico as one of the most attractive exploration frontiers in the world," said CEO and President Charlie Fischer. "We are very well positioned in this basin with core production from Aspen, the Gunnison field under development and a large number of high quality exploration prospects. One of our prospects, Gotcha, is adjacent to the recently announced Great White discovery in the Alaminos Canyon area and exemplifies the quality of our inventory." Nexen has a 30% working interest in the Gotcha prospect.

Offshore Nigeria, the company will continue to appraise the Usan and Ukot discoveries on OPL 222 with the goal of establishing a commercial project. Nexen holds a 20% working interest in OPL 222. "Offshore West Africa is very prospective," commented Fischer. "We are looking at opportunities throughout the region and expect significant production growth here in the coming years."

In Yemen, progress continues on interpreting seismic data on the company's exploration blocks and it is expected that at least one exploration well will be drilled. Offshore Brazil, the company plans to drill an exploration well on block BC-20 in the Campos Basin. In Canada, exploration will focus on gas prospects in the foothills area of northwestern Alberta and in northeastern British Columbia.