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Hess Exploratory Program to Focus on Deepwater Gulf

Amerada Hess Corp. has set aside $4 billion for its capital budget this year, with about $766 million earmarked for overseas opportunities. The New York-based producer plans to spend $570 million for exploration and exploitation, with more than half of the exploratory program focused on the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

John O'Connor, president of Worldwide Exploration and Production, said Hess' Gulf projects will include drilling the Pony, Ouachita, Barossa, and Turtle Lake wildcat wells, and a Tubular Bells appraisal well, "with the remainder of the program focused on the best basins in other selected prospective areas."

Excluding acquisitions, $3.1 billion is targeted for the entire Exploration and Production unit, and Hess will spend about $125 million is for Marketing and Refining. Hess will spend a total of $760 million on its U.S. projects, on- and offshore.

"Our exploration and production program in 2006 results largely from planned investments in world-class field developments such as Okume, JDA Phase II, Pangkah, and Shenzi, and growth opportunities in new country entries, including Egypt, Libya, and Russia," said CEO John Hess. "Additionally, higher industry-wide costs for services and materials contribute to the increase in expenditures."

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