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Living off the Land

March 23, 1999

Price fall doesn't stall oil, gas survey

Staff Writer
Paragon is the name of a joint venture that is conducting a
proprietary 3-D seismic program over 600 square miles in
Reeves and Culberson counties.

Titan Exploration and the Permian Gas Business Unit of
Mobil Exploration & Producing U.S. Inc. formed Paragon to
explore a strip of land 10 miles wide and 60 miles long,
said Bill White, vice-president finance for Titan.

The strip lies along the Sand Lake Fault system, which sets
up Mi Vida and Greasewood, a very highly productive gas
field, White said.

"This has been going on for five or six months, and we
acquired 200 square miles," White said. "We will make a
decision shortly whether to conduct the second phase,
shooting 300 square miles, based on what we see from the
first phase."

If the seismic data is favorable, the company will plan to
drill a gas well in the middle part of the year, he said.

While 3-D seismic reduces the risk, in that it helps the
user to better see the possible trapping mechanisms - the
faults - the actual geologic structures where there might be
gas and oil trapped, finding oil or gas is not a sure thing,
White said.

Instead of a series of straight lines as on a
two-dimensional seismograph, the 3-D produces a series of
perpendicular lines spaced very closely together, "so there
is just more information," he said.

"The industry now has the computer power to handle this
massive amount of information. It is not surefire, but it
does lower the risks," White said.

With the price of oil coming back up after the OPEC
decision to cut production, and the increase in the price of
natural gas over the past two or three months, drilling is
more likely to pay off, he said. But it is not the price
fluctuation that drives the exploration process, he said.

"We at Titan try to look at the longer term because these
projects take a long time to develop," he said. "If you made
decisions on the short term, you wouldn't drill."

Drilling to the 10,000-13,000 foot depths normally required
to produce gas in Reeves and Culberson counties is costly,
White said. Each hole costs in the range of $1 million.

"There is a half dozen wells in this area drilled to those
depths," he said.

White said that oil and gas are not in big pools like many
people think.

"We are looking for rock with big pore spaces that
hydrocarbons can move in," he said.

Oil and gas formations are much like a styrofoam cup, which
is very porous and insulates well because it has big pore

"But it is impermeable; nothing can flow through it," he
said. "The rock beneath the surface of the earth is a lot
like that, so we are looking for big pore spaces - but
that's permeable. We want those pore spaces to be filled
with gas and oil."

Fracturing the formation to release the gas and oil can be
done after the hole is drilled, or the shifting earth can
cause the fracture.

"That big Sand Lake fault, where it slipped sideways and
part thrust up; it is brittle and will crumble like a glass
windshield when it is broken," he said. "That becomes a
pathway through which oil and gas can travel to the well

A formation may hold both gas and oil, or it can hold
either oil or gas, White said.

"The deeper you go, the more likelihood you will have gas.
That is a good rule of thumb," he said. But gas can be found
at shallow depths, where it has migrated.

Titan and Mobil jointly leased 370,000 acres for the
Paragon project during 1998, White said.

"We each own 50 percent, and Mobil has paid for the
acreage," he said.

Mobil will also pay all the costs of the Phase I seismic
program and 75 percent of Phase II, but Titan will jointly
own the data.

Once Titan has recovered its share of costs paid, Mobil
will share in Titan's revenue until such time as it has
recovered its share of all costs.

Subsequently, Mobil and Titan will share all costs and
production equally.

Paragon hopes to acquire all 600 square miles of the
seismic data by mid-2000. The completed program should
represent one of the largest proprietary contiguous 3-D
seismic acquisition programs conducted within the onshore
lower 48 states, White said.

Dawson Geophysical of Midland is doing the seismograph work.

Titan completes drilling in Cherry Canyon

Staff Writer
Titan Exploration recently completed the H.H. Johnson No. 1
and the Cleveland No. 1 in the MiVida Cherry Canyon Field in
Reeves County, said Bill White, vice-president finance.

The company believes there are four Cherry Canyon sand
intervals where additional drilling will produce.

Current production from the H.H. Johnson No. 1 is 450 Mcgf
per day from one of the four sand intervals of interest.

The Cleveland No. 1 is producing 2.8 Mmcfg per day from two
different sand intervals not being produced in the Johnson

The company operates both wells and its working interest
varies from 68 percent to 100 percet over its MiVida leases,
White said. He expects a total of four wells to further
develop the Cherry Canyon Field to be commenced soon. If
they are successful, Tital plans to drill up to five
additional MiVida Cherry Canyon Field wells during 1999.

ARCO reports major oil find off Gulf Coast

LOS ANGELES, March 19, 1999 -- ARCO (NYSE: ARC) said today
that its Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas position
received a significant boost this week when Vastar
Resources, Inc. (NYSE: VRI) announced the Mirage deepwater
discovery and deepwater lease sale success. ARCO holds an
82.1 percent interest in Vastar.

"Vastar remains a key contributor to ARCO's growth plans,"
said Mike E. Wiley, President and Chief Operating Officer.
"These recent accomplishments highlight Vastar's ability to
deliver strong results in the Gulf of Mexico."

On Wednesday, Vastar announced that the Mississippi Canyon
941 #1 exploratory well testing the Mirage prospect in the
Gulf of Mexico deepwater encountered approximately 300 feet
of net oil pay in five intervals, and is a significant oil

Vastar holds 75 percent working interest in block 941 and
serves as operator. The Mirage discovery was the company's
second consecutive company-operated deepwater discovery. The
previous discovery was at the King prospect.

In another announcement, Vastar said that it was the
apparent successful bidder, solely or with partners, on 18
lease blocks at Wednesday's Central Gulf of Mexico Outer
Continental Shelf Sale 172.

Vastar participated in apparent high bids totaling
approximately $12.2 million in net expenditures. If all the
blocks are subsequently awarded, the company's deepwater
portfolio will expand by 14 blocks to 146 in total, while
its shelf portfolio will expand by four blocks to a total of

The sale represented an opportunity to add new prospects as
well as to expand Vastar's position around existing
prospects and discoveries in both the deepwater and shelf
areas. All bids are subject to review by the Minerals
Management Service of the United States Department of the
Interior, which conducted the sale.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Vastar finds, develops and
produces natural gas and liquid hydrocarbons. The company is
currently active in more than 100 producing fields, with
production in the Gulf of Mexico shelf, Gulf Coast,
Rockies/Hugoton and Oklahoma/Arklatex areas, and a growing
exploratory and development presence in the Gulf of Mexico
deepwater trend.

At the end of 1998, Vastar represented 14 percent of ARCO's
worldwide oil and gas reserves and about 21 percent of its
daily production. In terms of the U.S., Vastar holds 21
percent of ARCO's total domestic reserves and in 1998 was
responsible for 30 percent of its equivalent oil production.

From its headquarters in Los Angeles, ARCO operates a
worldwide energy company focused on exploration and
production and refining and marketing. In addition to its
Gulf of Mexico interests operated by Vastar, ARCO has
significant operations in Alaska, China, Indonesia, the
United Kingdom, Algeria and Venezuela.

Clinton fights Europe's ban of U.S. beef

AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON -- The United States, already in a trade war with
Europe over bananas, on Monday targeted $900 million in
European products in a separate fight over Europe's ban on
American beef treated with growth hormones.

Unless the dispute is settled, American consumers could see
Danish hams, French truffles and Belgian chocolates
disappearing from store shelves by this summer.

In all, 81 European products were put on a preliminary
target list from which the Clinton administration said it
will select a final list of goods that will be subject to
punitive tariffs of 100 percent starting as early as June.

The higher tariffs would effectively double the prices and
are designed to eliminate the goods from the U.S. market in
retaliation for lost sales the American cattle industry says
it is suffering because of Europe's ban on imports of beef
containing growth hormones.

The U.S. industry has put the lost export sales at $500
million annually. More than 90 percent of American cattle
producers feed hormones approved by the Food and Drug
Administration to cattle to make them grow faster and

``The EU's 10-year, arbitrary and scientifically
unjustified ban on U.S. beef has had a substantial negative
impact on U.S. beef producers,'' said U.S. Trade
Representative Charlene Barshefsky.

Peter Scher, America's trade negotiator on agricultural
matters, told reporters that all 15 nations in the European
Union had products on the list in an effort to bring maximum
pressure on the European Union to drop its beef ban.

The list, while covering predominantly agriculture products,
contains a limited number of manufactured goods, including
Italian moped motorcycles and hair clippers. The agriculture
goods included canned hams from Denmark, other types of
pork, beef, poultry, a variety of tomato products, Roquefort
cheese, truffles, onions, chestnuts, paprika, goose liver,
chewing gum, chocolate and mineral water.

This list will be pared after an April 21 public hearing,
when the administration will give U.S. importers a chance to
argue that certain products should be excluded from the
tariffs because of economic harm to their businesses.

The new hit list is in addition to $520 million in European
products ranging from Scottish cashmere sweaters and French
handbags to Italian cheese and German coffee makers targeted
in a separate battle involving European import restrictions
that limit shipments by American-based banana companies.

In the banana fight, the administration began requiring
importers to post bonds equal to the 100 percent duties as
of March 3, pending a ruling by the World Trade Organization
on the proper amount of penalties.

Published reports indicate that WTO arbitrators believe the
$520 million damage estimate in the banana case is too high
and should be reduced. The administration has said it will
comply with whatever damage figure the WTO deems

In both the banana case and the beef dispute, the United
States is seeking to impose trade sanctions after the
European Union refused to abide by WTO rulings in favor of
the U.S. position.

The European Union said in a statement that the beef
sanction threat ``will inevitably have a chilling effect on
trade'' between the world's two largest trading partners and
questioned the $900 million package of threatened sanctions,
saying it was 10 times larger than the amount the U.S. side
had been claiming in damage just three years ago.

European officials have resisted sales of hormone-treated
beef, citing fears about possible long-term health
consequences, in a dispute that has stretched for more than
10 years. In 1989, the United States actually imposed 100
percent tariffs on $94 million in products, including canned
tomatoes, wine coolers and pet food. Those punitive tariffs
remained in effect for five years, until Europe agreed to
allow a scientific panel to study the issue.

Leonard Condon, vice president for international trade at
the American Meat Institute, said the U.S. industry would
like to see the administration try a rotating approach to
sanctions that would target a different group of European
products every six months in an effort to bring maximum
pressure on the European Union to change its position.

The growing trade tensions between the United States and the
European Union are coming at a time when the U.S. trade
deficit is skyrocketing as the global financial crisis cuts
into American exports of manufactured goods and farm

Farm Bureau plans risk management program

Risk is something Texas farmers live with on a daily basis,
and the state's largest farm organization will soon have a
new program designed to help farmers manage their risk.

The Texas Farm Bureau will begin a new Agricultural Market
Education Program on April 1 of this year. The program will
offer basic and intermediate education on futures market
hedging, options trading and other risk management

"A combination of low market prices and weather related
disasters has left much of Texas agriculture in a real
financial bind," said Vernie Glasson, TFB Executive
Director. "There is just too much risk in agriculture, and
we believe this program will give our members more risk
management tools. It will Locus on the basics and the 'how
to get started. questions that many producers have about the
futures market."

Lassos said the program is the first of several new programs
that will be implemented as a result of Farm Bureau delegate
action to adopt the "Project 2000" plan. The Project 2000
plan is the result of a special Farm Bureau leader task
force study to give direction to the organization for the
year 2000 and beyond. Other new programs will be implemented
next year, Glasson said. "Risk management education for
agricultural producers is so important, however, the Texas
Farm Bureau Board of Directors felt this program should be
started immediately."

Glasson announced that Boyce Myrick, currently a TFB Field
Services Representative, will lead the Agricultural
Marketing Education Program. Myrick resides in Abilene, and
has served as liaison between the state organization and
Farm Bureau members in that part of Texas for almost ten

The program will feature initial seminars and follow up
sessions that will be offered to producers free of charge.
It will also serve as a source of information and dialogue
for Farm Bureau members who implement risk management

Myrick, a 1978 graduate of Texas Christian University, with
a degree in Finance, has extensive experience in agriculture
and commodity markets. He was a licensed commodity broker
for nine years, and served as a workshop instructor when ag
options first began trading in the early 1980s. He has
worked with agricultural producers in setting up commodity
hedging programs.

"Bryce has the knowledge in this important area, as well as
a demonstrated ability to work with agricultural producers,"
Glasson said.

Glasson said the new program is part of the Farm Bureau's
primary mission. "Improving net farm income is what this
organization is all about, and we are confident the program
will create new opportunities for farmers to improve their

Fall's milk production dropped 2 percent

AUSTIN -- Texas milk production totaled 430 million pounds
during October, down 2 percent from last year. Revised
production for September, 1998, totaled 394 million pounds.

The number of milk cows during October averaged 369 thousand
head, down 12,000 head from last year and down 1,000 head
from last month. Production per cow averaged 1,1 65 pounds
during October compared with 1 ,150 pounds last year and
1.065 during September, 1998.

Milk production in the 20 states participating in the
monthly survey totaled 1 1.1 billion pounds, up 1.3 percent
from production in these same states in October, 1997.
September revised production, at 10.7 billion pounds, was up
0.3 percept from September, 1997.

Production per cow during October averaged 1,436 pounds, 20
pounds above a year ago. The average number of milk cows in
the 20 states was 7.75 million head, 3,000 head less than
last year and 2,000 head less than September, 1998.

Senators more of a problem than drought

Thanks to irrigation, drought has little effect on onions in
the Pecos Valley. Sets are planted on area farms from
October through February and harvested May through
September, and much of the local crop is used by Anchor
West's Pecos processing plant. However, while the drought is
having little effect, a new bill passed Monday by the Texas
Senate would make it easier for cities like Midland and El
Paso to tap underground water sources in other counties for
use by their residents and could threaten underground
irrigation sources. Midland owns land with underground water
in Winkler County, while El Paso owns land in Jeff Davis and
Culberson counties it plans to tap for water supplies
sometime in the future.

Still some activity

The Big Dog Rig No. 1, drilling off U.S. 285 near the
Reeves/Pecos County line, is one of the few rigs active in
the area right now, according to figures from Baker-Hughes
Tool Co. However, exploration activities are continuing in
northern Reeves County, and today's agreement by OPEC
officials to cut production by 2.1 million barrels over the
next 12 months may help increase both drilling activity in
the Permian Basin and mineral valuations, which fund county
governments, cities and school districts across the region.

Crops coming up, prices may also rise

Alfalfa is beginning to make its way out of the ground on a
Coyanosa field this week. Although farm prices for most
crops have been depressed during the past year, Federal
Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan was optimistic when
talking about the U.S. farm economy outlook last week,
saying prices will rise as foreign economies recover from
the recessions that occurred between the summer of 1997 and
this past November.

Talking Herbs

By Sue Toone
Last month we talked about plant propagation by planting
seed. I hope your seed have germinated by now and are under
the shop lights. Rememª ber to replant them after the first
true leaves appear. Handle the seedlings by their leaves
because the stem is too delicate at this stage to be
handled. Add fertilizer about two weeks later when the
seedlings are established.

Proper watering is most important now. Do not overwater.
Wait until soil is completely dry because the damping off is
still a danger while the seedlings are young. So now we have
the seedlings almost ready for our gardens.

Next we need to harden them off by putting the plants is a
sheltered sunny spot. Leave them out for about one hour to
begin the acclimating process. Continue the process by
adding an additional hour each day for about one week. By
now the plants should be ready to go in the garden.

Propagation of perennials in the spring or fall can be done
by using three methods: layering, division, and stem
cuttings. The layering method of propagation can be done at
this time because this is the growing season. If used later,
roots may not form until the next growing season.

Simple layering usually has excellent results because the
stem is still atª tached to the parent plant and nothing is
disturbed with the growing cycle. About the only thing that
has to be done for the propagation is to strip leaves from
the branch where you will bend the branch down to the
ground, sort of twist or break the stem a little and add a
tad of root horª mone to induce root growth. Cover the bent
stem with potting soil and keep moist. Leave the end of the
stem with the remainder of leaves exª posed to the sunlight.
If the branch tip is not standing up straight, you may want
to stake the new plant. When roots form, remove the plant
from the parent plant and replant where you wish.

Mounding Ï another type of layering Ï describes exactly
what it is. This spring, pile a mound of potting soil over
the center of an old, woody plant like sage or thyme until
only the young shoots are visible. By late summer, roots
should have formed and can be removed and planted elseªwhere.

Plant division is another way you can grow more perennials.
Some of the plants that will benefit from division are
chives, thyme, oregano, catª nip, sweet woodruff, and the
scented geraniums. You will have better reª sults if you
will wait a couple of years before you divide so the plant
will have more growth.

Now is the time to divide the plants or you could wait
until fall. A small plant will grow into a large plant in
just one growing season. Then after a couple of years,
divide again and fill your herb garden with perenª nials.
Then you will have enough herbs to dry or freeze for
seasoning throughout the year.

Perhaps the best and fastest way to propagate herbs and
other plants is to use one of the three stem cutting
procedures. The easiest of all is to cut the tip about five
or six inches from the top or growing tip of the plant. Next
choice is basal stem cutting. It is also pretty simple as it
is choosing a side shoot from the stem and cut straight
across and close to the main stem of the plant. The basal
stem cutting can also be done by using the heel cut, which
is a slanted cut and gives more room for the roots to form.

Sectional cutting is also another way to propagate plants.
You can cut the stem about three inches from top to bottom
but be certain you include a node. Nodes are the growing
points on a stem or shoot. This cutting proª motes bushiness
in plants as the nodes produces side shoots.

Place your cuttings in sterilized potting soil to prevent
disease. Keep damp by putting a plastic cover over the
cuttings remembering to uncover the cuttings for air
exchange every few days. Or keep the soil damp by usª ing a
spray bottle. And remember that plants need warmth, water
and air.

Check the root system by carefully pulling on your plant
from side to side.
If the roots are there, replant the plant in potting soil
and if you are putª ting the plant in the garden, harden off
the plant before it goes out in the garden.


That ends our talking about some methods of plant
propagation. Now we will talk about our October Fall Fair.


Is it time to get out your seed catalogs and plan your
strategy to enter your best vegetables and flowers in the
Fall Fair in October? Yes.
Is it also time to sharpen your needles, get out your
quilting stuff you have been planning on using when you
retire and get busy and "whip up" a baby quilt, a lap robe
or a king size Lone Star quilt? yes Get out an old quilt for
display purposes for everyone to enjoy looking? Yes.
Is it time to choose a needlepoint project as to be
finished by October? Yes.
Is it time to practice baking fancy pies and cakes for the
fair? Yes.
Some of the previous questions have been answered and some
will be answered when you attend the Fall Fair in October.
And if you would like to become a part of the fall fair by
volunteering to be a chairman of any event, or if you have
any have any suggestions about the fair, contact Linda
Gholson, at the Chamber of Commerce or Regina Armstrong at
the County Extension office, 447-9041.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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