press release

Texaco Press Release - Texaco Begins Production from Natural Gas Project in Gulf of Mexico

FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, MAY 21, 1998.

NEW ORLEANS, May 21 - Texaco has recently begun commercial production of natural gas from its Barite South project located 130 miles south of Lake Charles, La., in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Robert S. Lane, Vice President of Texaco North America Production - East.

Barite South, located in 446 feet of water in East Cameron Block 381, currently is producing more than 50 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from the first well on the platform. These rates are expected to increase to peak production rates of 140 million cubic feet of gas per day by the end of 1998.

Texaco is operator of Barite South with a 60 percent working interest. Texaco's partners in the project include Samedan Oil Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Noble Affiliates, Inc., with a 25 percent interest and Aviara Energy Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hunt Petroleum Corporation, with a 15 percent interest.

"Barite South is an important part of our continued growth plan in the Gulf of Mexico," said Lane. "The project is located in an area along the shelf in the Central Gulf where Texaco has a strategic lease profile."

Lane added that Texaco worked with its partners and numerous contractors, most of whom are Louisiana-based, to move this project on a fast-track production schedule. This allowed the company to greatly reduce the time from drilling the first exploratory well in July, 1996, to first production which began May 1, 1998. Barite South consists of a conventional production and drilling rig platform over the two existing exploratory wells. The platform is a 12-slot, tubular steel space frame, 4-pile production facility with crew quarters, boat dock and heliport. It was constructed at Gulf Island Fabrication in Houma, La., and installed in late 1997.

The natural gas produced at Barite South is sent to an existing facility 13 miles north via a 16-inch pipeline and, ultimately, to Texaco's Sea Robin gas processing plant for sale into the Henry Hub in Erath, La. Barite South is located approximately five miles southeast of Texaco's Barite Field (West Cameron Block 643) which, to date, has produced more than 200 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Updated: May 1998