Houston, TX - July 30, 2001 - Benton Oil and Gas Company (NYSE:BNO) today confirmed commencement of oil production from the first development well in the South Tarasovskoye Field drilled by Geoilbent, Benton's 34 percent owned Russian company.
The well, drilled to a total depth of 9,535 feet, encountered a 365 foot gross oil column in multiple productive intervals, and established first production from the Geoilbent 100 percent owned Urabor Yakhinsky Block in Western Siberia, Russia. The well is currently producing approximately 1,000 barrels per day of 40º API of oil with no water. The initial discovery and production from this field came from the adjacent Purneftegas acreage in May of this year. Geoilbent has two rigs currently drilling development wells to further accelerate production from the field.
An exploratory appraisal well, two kilometers to the west of the producing well, is currently underway in the Urabor Yakhinsky Block to determine the size and commercial significance of the field. Benton's President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Peter J. Hill, said, "We are excited with the success of this well and with Geoilbent's plans to rapidly develop the South Tarasovskoye Field. The well flow rate of 1,000 barrels of oil per day, is four to five times higher than production rates from other fields in this general area. We believe this field could add significant, high quality reserves and cash flow to the Company's Russian portfolio."
Benton Oil and Gas Company, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is an independent oil and gas exploration and development company with principal operations in Venezuela and Russia.
This press release may contain "Forward-Looking Statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this release may constitute forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Actual results may differ materially from the Company's expectations due to changes in operating performance, project schedules, oil and gas demands and prices, and other technical and economic factors.