Pioneer Natural Resources Co. of Dallas, Mariner Energy ofHouston, CNG Producing of New Orleans and Westport Oil and Gasparticipated in a deep-water Gulf of Mexico discovery on theDevil’s Tower Prospect in Mississippi Canyon 773, about 140 milessoutheast of New Orleans in 5,610 feet of water. A Pioneerspokesperson said the partners agreed to not disclose the type ofhydrocarbons discovered.

Appraisal drilling is expected to begin in the second quarter.Pioneer has a 15.8% working interest in the discovery. Mariner, theoperator, holds a 50% interest with other partners CNG (30%) andWestport (4.17%).

Devil’s Tower is Pioneer’s second successful exploration welldrilled in the last year in the deep-water Gulf. In early 1999,Pioneer participated in the Aconcagua discovery in MississippiCanyon 305. The appraisal well for the Aconcagua discovery isexpected to spud within the next week. The partners in thisdiscovery, Elf Exploration Inc. (Operator with 50%), Pioneer (25%)and Mariner (25%) expect to sanction the development project inJune of this year.

Aconcagua is one of three deep-water gas fields included in therecently announced Canyon Express joint development project. Theother fields are Marathon Oil’s Camden Hills in Mississippi Canyon348 and BP Amoco’s Kings Peak in Mississippi Canyon 217.Anticipated production of 500 MMcf/d of gas will flow to theElf-operated Virgo platform in Viosca Knoll 823. First productionis anticipated in early 2002.

The Devils Tower discovery gives Mariner seven exploratorysuccesses out of thirteen wells drilled in the Deepwater Gulf sincebecoming an independent company in mid-1996. Devil’s Tower is thefifth successful deep-water project for CNG, one of the top sixproducers in the deep-water Gulf. It is preceded by two successfuldeep-water Gulf producing projects — Popeye in Green Canyon Block116 and Neptune in Viosca Knoll Block 826, along with twodeep-water development projects — North Marlin in Viosca KnollBlock 827 and Einset in Viosca Knoll Block 872-873.

Joe Fisher, Houston

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