press release

Unocal's new Spirit Energy 76 unit brings focus to role as independent oil and gas producer in Lower 48

Sugar Land, Tex., Jan. 8, 1997 -- Unocal's new domestic crude oil and natural gas unit, to be called Spirit Energy 76, will focus on growing value by maximizing efficiencies and lowering costs of existing operations, while investing in higher return projects that increase the overall return on Unocal's Lower 48 oil and gas assets, the company said today.

"With this focus, we expect to increase both reserves and production and make Unocal's Lower 48 operations a top-ranked domestic competitor," said Jack W. Schanck, president of Spirit Energy 76. "We have structured the organization so that it is focused, agile, cost effective and growth-oriented."

Schanck added Spirit has smaller, more focused asset teams to enhance autonomy and accountability, sharpen the management team's focus, link individual and team efforts more directly with the business unit performance, and speed decision making.

"This new domestic oil and gas unit will improve our focus, help reduce costs and increase our ability to take advantage of new business opportunities," Schanck said.

Last year, Unocal announced the realignment of its worldwide oil and gas activities into two business units -- one that would focus on domestic activities and a second that would encompass the company's increasing international focus.

Unocal's new Spirit Energy 76 unit currently accounts for about 35 percent of the company's worldwide crude oil production and 55 percent of the worldwide natural gas production. Spirit will have exploration and production operations in Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah, as well as extensive offshore operations in the Gulf Coast.

"We plan to build on our outstanding record as a low-cost producer of crude oil and natural gas," Schanck said. "The major emphasis will be on the Gulf Coast, particularly the Continental Shelf and deep water areas."

Schanck said that Spirit will continue exploring in and around established fields, but the business unit will also be looking at potential acquisitions and joint ventures.

Schanck also announced the senior management team for Spirit Energy 76. David A. Johnson, is the new vice president of exploration. Johnson will be responsible for developing Spirit's exploration strategy and managing the unit's exploration portfolio.

David E. Thompson will serve as vice president of exploitation and be responsible for management and development of producing assets and immediate adjacent areas.

Ryan C. Isherwood will be the vice president for new ventures. He will oversee acquisition and joint venture efforts.

Earl P. Champagne is the new vice president of field operations, with responsibility for management of field operations and related support in all producing assets.

Joseph A. Blount, Jr., is the new vice president of marketing. He will direct the sales of natural gas and related midstream projects.

Additional senior staff include Dennis E. Justus, vice president of finance; Peter G. Vincent, vice president of human resources and organizational development; and Gregory E. Simmons, vice president and general counsel.

Biographical Information

Jack W. Schanck joined Unocal in 1976. He held various positions with the company's Louisiana/Gulf of Mexico operations before becoming vice president, Unocal Canada, Ltd., in 1989. He was named president of Unocal Canada in 1990.

Schanck became vice president for Unocal's worldwide exploration in 1992, and was promoted to group vice president for worldwide oil and gas operations in 1994. He holds a master's degree in geology from Memphis State University.

David A. Johnson, 46, joins the company after a successful exploration record at Vastar Resources and Shell Oil Company spanning more than 23 years. His accomplishments include the discovery of several major oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico region. He has a bachelor of science degree in physics from Iowa State University.

David A. Thompson, 49, joined Unocal in 1970. He has held various assignments with the company's oil and gas operations in Thailand and the Louisiana/Gulf Coast. He was general manager of Unocal Netherlands prior to his new position. He holds a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Southwestern Louisiana.

Ryan C. Isherwood, 38, joined Unocal in 1983 at the company's San Francisco Refinery. He held various positions in planning and marketing business development with Unocal's 76 Products Company. Isherwood has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and an MBA from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley.

Earl P. Champagne, 43, has nearly 21 years experience with Unocal in oil and gas operations, reservoir engineering and business planning. He has a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Southwestern Louisiana.

Joseph A. Blount, Jr., 36, joined Unocal in early 1996. Previously he held senior gas marketing positions with Koch Industries and Transco Energy Company. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing management from Virginia Tech.

Dennis P. Justus, 46, joined Unocal in late 1996. He has held various accounting and finance positions with Monsanto Company and BHP Petroleum Americas. He holds bachelor's degrees from the University of Missouri (Columbia) and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Peter G. Vincent, 47, joined Unocal in 1996 after a long tenure with Occidental Petroleum Corporation where he had increasingly important responsibilities for human resources activities in London, Tripoli, and California. He has a bachelor of science degree from the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London University.

Gregory E. Simmons, 50, joins Unocal after serving in the law departments of Apache Corporation, Meridian Oil, Inc., and Superior Oil Company. He has bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Central Arkansas and a juris doctor degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Updated: January 1997