McMoRan Updates Drilling Activities at South Timbalier Block 168

McMoRan Exploration Co. announced that it has deepened the South Timbalier Block 168 No. 1 exploratory well to 30,964 feet. Wireline logs have indicated that the well has encountered a potential hydrocarbon bearing zone, which will be further evaluated after the well is drilled to a deeper depth. The well has been repermitted to a proposed total depth of 33,000 feet and McMoRan plans to deepen the well to evaluate additional targets.

South Timbalier Block 168 is located in 70 feet of water approximately 115 miles southwest of New Orleans. The well is the deepest well ever drilled below the mud line in the Gulf of Mexico.

The South Timbalier Block 168 No. 1 wellbore, formerly known as the Blackbeard West No. 1 ultra-deep exploratory well, was drilled to 30,067 feet by the original operator and its partners but was temporarily abandoned in August 2006 prior to reaching the objective depth. McMoRan acquired rights to this prospect in August 2007. McMoRan re-entered the well with the Rowan Gorilla IV rig on March 18, 2008 and commenced drilling new hole on April 16, 2008. McMoRan operates the well and owns a 32.3 percent working interest. Other owners include Plains Exploration & Production Company with a 35 percent working interest and Energy XXI with a 20 percent working interest.