ARCO to Purchase Elf Aquitaine's Assets in Tunisia, Including 50% Interest in Ashtart Oilfield

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21 July 1997
LOS ANGELES — ARCO (NYSE: ARC) today signed an agreement to purchase all of Elf Aquitaine's production assets in Tunisia, including its primary asset, a 50% interest in the offshore Ashtart oilfield.
Located in 225 feet of water in the Gulf of Gabes about 200 miles southeast of Tunis, the Ashtart field has 800 million barrels of oil in place and has produced 240 million barrels of oil since its discovery in 1971. Current gross production is 19,000 barrels per day of 30-degree API crude oil.

Ashtart is jointly owned by Elf Hydrocarbures Tunisie (EHT), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elf Aquitaine (NYSE: ELF) , and ETAP, the Tunisian national oil company, each with a 50% interest. The field is operated by SEREPT, a 50-50 EHT/ETAP joint operating company. As part of the transaction, which is expected to close in August subject to government approvals, ARCO will also acquire EHT's interest share of SEREPT.

"The transaction will add 25 million barrels of oil to our proved reserves this year and will be effective from 1 January 1997," said Jay Cheatham, president of ARCO International Oil and Gas Company, the international exploration and production division of Los Angeles-based ARCO.

"We are excited by Ashtart because of its enhanced oil recovery potential and the exploration upside that could increase reserves significantly. There are also potential synergies with our South Kerkennah exploration block in Tunisia, should our exploration efforts there prove successful."

ARCO owns a 100% interest in the South Kerkennah exploration block located immediately to the west of the Ashtart license. ARCO is currently drilling its second exploration well at South Kerkennah.

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