TotalFinaElf Begins Production from Balal Field

TotalFinaElf has commenced production from the Balal field offshore Iran. The field is located near Iran's Lavan Island, in the Persian Gulf. The Group is the operator of the field under a ''buy-back'' contract signed with state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in April 1999 and has a 46.75% interest in partnership with Eni (38.25%) and Bow Valley (15%).

Production started in January at a daily rate of approximately 20,000 barrels coming from two wells. It is exported from the offshore platform using facilities operated by the NIOC (subsea pipeline and processing facilities on Lavan Island).

Presently, three additional producer wells are being drilled. They are expected to enter production by the end of the first half of 2003.