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AMERICAN EXPLORATION OBTAINS EXTENSION ON 1.7 MILLION ACRE EXPLORATION BLOCK IN NEW ZEALAND

 AMERICAN EXPLORATION OBTAINS EXTENSION ON 1.7 MILLION ACRE
 EXPLORATION BLOCK IN NEW ZEALAND
 HOUSTON, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- American Exploration Company (AMEX: AX) today announced that it had been granted a 22 month extension of an exploration license by the Government of New Zealand. American had requested the extension to permit additional time for further geological and geophysical studies prior to making a decision to drill a well.
 The extension covers exploration block PPL 38321 which encompasses approximately 1.7 million acres offshore the east coast of the North Island, New Zealand in the area of Hawke Bay. The acreage block extends from the shoreline in water with an average depth of less than 200 feet. Although virtually no exploratory drilling has been conducted in the vicinity of American's block, the onshore portion of this basin is noted for the presence of live oil and gas seeps at the surface. American has a 100 percent interest in the block.
 Under the terms of its exploration license, American will perform geological and geophysical analysis to evaluate subsurface structures previously identified with seismic data. The 1992/1993 work program will include geological mapping, the reprocessing of 550 miles of existing seismic data and the acquisition and processing of 300 miles of new multi-channel seismic data. A determination on whether to drill an exploratory well will be made before Aug. 1, 1993.
 American Exploration Company also holds, through wholly owned subsidiaries, international exploration interests in Tunisia and Oman and is engaged in production and exploration activities in North America. In Tunisia, American, through a subsidiary, has a 40 percent interest in the 987,000 acrc El Jem Block. Texaco Exploration Tunisia, Inc., as operator for the joint venture, is expected to spud the El Jem No. 1 exploratory well in the second quarter of 1992. Under the terms of its agreement with Texaco, American is being carried for a 40 percent interest in the well.
 -0- 2/19/92
 /CONTACT: Frank Murphy, vice president-investor relations of American Exploration Company, 212-644-6900/
 (AX) CO: American Exploration Company ST: Texas IN: OIL SU:


TS-KW -- NY033 -- 0406 02/19/92 11:21 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 19, 1992
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