McMoRan Exploration Co. Announces Sale Of Its Interest In Vermilion 408 And

McMoRan Exploration Co. (NYSE:MMR - news) today announced that the McMoRan exploration program has sold its 30 percent interest in the Vermilion Block 408 for $6.5 million. McMoRan's 95 percent share in the program equates to $6.2 million in sales proceeds. In the transaction, The Houston Exploration Company (NYSE:THX - news) purchased a 16.8 percent working interest and Samedan Oil Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Noble Affiliates, Inc. (NYSE:NBL - news) purchased the remaining 13.2 percent working interest. McMoRan will recognize an approximate $3.2 million gain on the sale in its third quarter 2000 operating results.

McMoRan also announced today that drilling has commenced at the State Lease 16033 #1 exploratory well, located offshore Louisiana in 17 feet of water on a 2,788 acre tract within Grand Isle Block 2 / West Delta Blocks 1/12/13. Working interests in the well are owned 47.5 percent by McMoRan, 25 percent by Ocean Energy Inc. (NYSE: OEI - news), 25 percent by Samedan Oil Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Noble Affiliates and 2.5 percent by an individual investor. The well is expected to be drilled to a total measured depth of approximately 20,700 feet. Ocean Energy is the operator of the well.

McMoRan Exploration Co. is an independent public company engaged in the exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in the Gulf Coast area; and the purchasing, transporting, terminaling, processing and marketing of sulphur. Additional information about McMoRan is available on our Internet web site.