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Pioneer Announces Discovery in Deepwater Clipper Prospect, Prepares for GOM Asset Sale

Dallas-based independent Pioneer Natural Resources Co., which is in the process of selling off its deepwater Gulf of Mexico assets, on Thursday announced a discovery on one of the blocks up for sale, the Clipper prospect in the Green Canyon. Pioneer operates the block and holds a 55% working interest.

In September, Pioneer announced a major restructuring, which included divesting properties and exiting exploration activity in the deepwater Gulf and in southern Argentina to concentrate on North America onshore development and drilling (see NGI, Sept. 5).

In June, Pioneer said once it had completed drilling the Clipper well, it would drill the subsalt Paladin prospect in the Garden Banks area. However, because of delays caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, along with the planned divestitures, the company has requested a suspension of operations extension with the Minerals Management Service to defer drilling the Paladin prospect.

Besides the Clipper prospect, Pioneer is planning to sell existing deepwater production from Canyon Express, Devils Tower and the Falcon Corridor, discoveries under development at Ozona Deep and Thunder Hawk and 90 additional exploration blocks.

Pioneer plans to open a divestment data room on Monday (Oct. 17) for its asset sales, which are expected to close by the end of this year. The company is being advised by Randall & Dewey on its deepwater sale.

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