Daily Newspaper for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend, Far West Texas

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April 22, 1997

Game Warden on duty

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Staff Writer

LITTLE GIRL, BIG STRINGER - Courtney Brown lacks a little being as tall as this stringer of crappie, held by her father, Randall Brown, at Balmorhea Lake. Brown is game warden for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department in Jeff Davis County.

Crappie were biting some hooks and ignoring others last week as game warden Jim Allen made his rounds at Balmorhea Lake.

Allen, who covers Reeves County for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, quickly checked fishing licenses and stringers as he circled the lake and talked with people along the banks, fishing off the rocks at the dam and baiting trot lines.

One fisherman tried his luck in the duck pond near the office as he
relaxed in an inner tube that kept him afloat.

Crappie have been biting since right after Christmas. "People were
catching them real heavily up through the middle of March," Allen said.

Fishing is popular in the spring, when pleasant temperatures draw sun
worshipers out of doors. Winds were calm during Allen's visit, but they
can kick up whitecaps that spill over the dam and threaten the safety of
anyone out on the water.

Ducks, cormorants, pelicans and other shore birds glide over the smooth
surface, snatching up insects or small plants, and in some cases diving
for fish.

Bass lazily swim up the canal that empties warm water from springs near
Toyahvale into the lake, while carp and sunfish dart back and forth.

Some big striped bass inhabit the Balmorhea lake, but they are hard to
catch because they are older and smarter than their cousins, the white
and black (widemouth) bass and the hybrid stiper.

The hybrid, found mostly in Red Bluff Lake, is a cross between a white
and striped bass, and it is unable to reproduce. Allen said it is
important for fishermen to be able to identify the type of fish, because
size and bag limit are different.

A black stripe along the length of the body identifies the white bass,
which has one tooth patch. The hybrid has two tooth patches and several
black lines along its body. Some of those lines may be broken.

Another key is the dorsal fin. The white bass has one little spine at
the front of the dorsal fin, next to a big spine. On the hybrid, one
little spine adjoins a medium size one, then larger ones.

Red Bluff also has some channel cat, Allen said. And when water is
released from the lake for irrigation, fish of all stripes swim down the
Pecos River with it.

"The river from Sullivan Bridge to Orla has several slues where people
fish," Allen said. "They catch mostly hybrid stipers. Some individuals
just like to get out for the recreation and take their kids out. The
kids catch some carp and perch."

"When I first arrived (August, 1996) and started patrolling the river,
the level was pretty high," Allen said. "I was expecting a minimal
amount of fishing and not as many good catches as I have come across."

While crappie have been the big biters at Balmorhea lately, bass ought
to be hitting there soon, said Allen.

"Reports from individuals at Balmorhea are they have been catching
pretty good-sized black bass."

The minimum legal length for large-mouth (black) bass is 14 inches, and
the maximum catch is five per person.

Hybrid stripers must be at least 18 inches long, and the limit is five.

Up to 25 white bass or crappie may be caught daily, and the size minimum
is 10 inches.

Channel catfish must be 12 inches long, and 25 is the daily limit.

"I haven't seen a lot of catfish caught this spring," Allen said. "They
seem to be pretty healthy fish."

Allen said he has seen sign where people have put a small boat into the
Pecos River at a low-water crossing to fish, but mostly they fish off
the bank.

"There is a pretty good current in the river now through August," he
said. "But you probably can't put a large motor in there. You need a jet
propeller-type engine. There are probably a few of them out here."

Debris in the river, salt cedar and mesquites hamper boat travel and may
be dangerous to the fisherman.

"We went from 16-mile dam to Mentone in November (by boat) and we were
pretty careful," Allen said. "It was pretty dangerous. It is the same
with the lakes. They are irrigating out of both. Boaters need to be
aware of their surroundings."

Sixteen-Mile Dam sits on private property, and the land is posted. Allen
said he often finds fishermen on the river, which can be quite dangerous
when the flow is swift.

"The concern to me is individuals shooting rifles," Allen said. "The
bullets could glance off the water and go two miles. There is gas and
oil production all around here, and a lot of people are out and about."

A lot of people just like to target shoot, he said. But with 95 percent
of the land in Texas privately owned, they should get permission form
the landowner before shooting at anything.

"When the river is flowing it draws people to it," Allen said. They also
fish out of the irrigation canals around Barstow.

"It is hard to believe the fish come down so far," Allen said. Red Bluff
is 40 miles north of Pecos.

Allen puts a lot of miles on his four-wheel-drive TPWD vehicle just
checking the river and lakes. The trip to Red Bluff, to Balmorhea Lake
and back is four hours travel time alone.

Checking fishermen, Allen looks for a license, bag limit, length limit
and type of fish. He also checks for illegal means of taking fish, such
as snagging with large treble hooks, netting or illegal trot lines.

Allen found two teenagers baiting their grandfather's trotline at
Balmorhea Lake and gave them two warnings: one for failing to mark the
trotline float with name and address, and the date set out, and another
for being in a boat without a life jacket.

Although the boat was only a few feet away from the bank, Allen said
there is always danger of catching an arm or hand with a hook and
falling into the lake.

"It is always a judgment call whether to give a warning or citation,"
Allen said. "It is real important that, even if you are out in a rubber
raft boat, that you have a personal flotation device. As wardens, we
wear our life jackets from the minute we are in the boat until the
minute we get out. You never know when an accident can happen."

While the number of hooks on that trotline was fewer than the limit of
50, Allen said it is possible to bag 200 pounds of fish in one night
with an illegal device.

The float on a trotline warns water skiers and boaters that the line is
there so they won't get tangled up in it, he said.

Allen takes his work seriously. Fishermen who foul the waterways and
take more than their limit of fish hurt the sport for people who abide
by the rules and just want to enjoy the day, he said.

Nomadic deer herds browse on leaves

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Staff Writer
Spring rains have greened up the countryside, and deer that browse on
tender tips of Mesquite and young weeds look healthy, said Jim Allen,
game warden for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

"I have been seeing a lot of deer lately north of Pecos," Allen said.
"They looked real good."

One group of six does and a buck looked "seemed to be real fit," as did
another group consisting of a doe and yearlings.

"With good rains this spring and summer, they ought to be real healthy
next fall," he said.

Mule deer are nomadic, and they travel in groups looking for watering
holes, Allen said.

"They are real fun to watch. You can learn a lot from them. I would see
lots of sign last fall where they would travel down to the river."

Allen said he has come across several hunting violations in the past
three weeks.

"As a game warden and sportsman, you automatically focus on fishing
come springtime," he said. "But I can't let my guard down because there
are animals still being hunted this time of year. A lot of individuals
like to hunt rabbits.

"People need to be aware not to hung off a public roadway. On private
property, they need to have the landowner's consent and abide by all
guidelines of hunting regulations."

Quail season ended Feb. 23, and Allen said he hasn't been seeing as
many quail lately. "The ones I have seen were paired up," he said. "They
will pair up at the same general time period that turkey will."

Allen said the only turkey he has seen were in the city limits of
Balmorhea. Reeves County has no open season on turkeys.

A lot of people have asked about hunting javelina, which has no closed
season in Reeves County.

"You may hunt the year around but can only bag two per year," he said.

The game animal must be processed and not left in the pasture. The meat
of smaller javelina is good, similar to pork, he said. "The key factor
is that the musk gland on the backside has to be cut of immediately upon

While the javelina, a wild hog, is a game animal, the wild feral hog is
not and may be killed any time of year.

"Those numbers seem to be on the increase," Allen said. While most have
been spotted in southern Reeves County, "If they continue increasing,
they could spread on up north pretty quick," he said.

Some farmers and ranchers find the feral hogs a nuisance because they
tear up cropland and molasses licks.

"They make a pretty good non-game animal for lease-type hunts," Allen
said. "A lot of people are beginning to take an interest in running
them. It is something to supplement hunting year around."

With the endangered species act creating havoc on private land,
landowners are leery of government people coming around. Allen said he
has to be careful about going onto private property without first
contacting the owner.

But owners cooperate with the game wardens, tipping them off to
suspected illegal hunting on their land.

"I have never been run off," he said.

And it's not just game animals that draw him. Coyotes and rabbits are
among the animals he protects.

"It is my obligation to serve the landowner," Allen said. "They are the
individuals out there in the rural end of the county. They are going to
see things going on. They make a lot of cases for me, too."

Allen can spend a whole day just driving around and watching the

"This outdoors is my office," he said. "I can patrol anywhere I want
to. I couldn't have a better job. It is unreal."

He sometimes pulls off on a dirt road to watch a road runner chase a
lizard or a hawk circling for prey.

"Some days I drive up north little way and I can see Guadalupe Peak
clear as a bell. When it rains I am really excited."

While Reeves County is his primary assignment, Allen helps wardens in
neighboring counties and answers calls for backup anywhere in the state.

"This past week Robert French and I worked a detail in Val Verde County
on the Rio Grande," he said. "I may end up in Presidio County working
the river by Candelaria."

Wherever he goes, Allen has an eye out for the animals, reptiles and
birds. He even stops to watch a red racer slither across the road. His
binoculars always at the ready, he can bring a far-away scene up close
to get an armchair view.

Death and capital gains taxes
can destroy family businesses

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FORT WORTH, April 10, 1997 -The payment of death and capital gains
taxes has cattle producers gravely concerned about the future of their
family businesses and the cattle industry itself, according to a
membership survey released today by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle
Raisers Association.

Coney Burgess, president of the 120-year-old trade organization, said,
"Our survey indicates that millions of dollars are deflected from land
and livestock improvements to pay federal taxes. Descendants of ranch
owners are forced out of ranching to pay the government's death taxes.
The death and capital gains taxes affect the efficiency of producing
U.S. beef."

The Amarillo Texas rancher and businessman said, "Relief (from death
and capital gains taxes) is needed." Echoing his comments was John
Dudley, Comanche, Texas, rancher and TSCRA second vice president who
testified on the issues before the Senate Finance Committee in
Washington, DC, today.

Highlights of the survey, which asked specific questions about death
and capital gains taxes and legislative proposals to repeal or reform
them include:

Complete repeal of the death tax was favored by 75 percent of the

Over 78 percent of survey respondents said the current death tax law
has affected their farming/ranching operation.

Over 51 percent of respondents favored abolishing capital gains taxes.
Assets are currently being held to avoid capital gains taxes by 60
percent of respondents.

The current capital gains tax law has affected over 71 percent of
respondents' farming/ranching operations.

Some of the comments made by TSCRA members included:

"Our family ranching operation has survived drouth and bad markets
through perseverance, prayer and planning. God willing, we will survive
death taxes using these same three methods, plus the addition of tons of
legal fees."

"Granddad died in the early '70s. Dad used every penny Granddad saved
plus most of Dad's savings just to keep the place together by paying the
death tax. Dad has lost interest in doing anything new or different
because Uncle Sam will end up with 50+0/0 of it."

"How will we ever be able to protect our natural resources if every
time another generation passes on, the family ranch has to be divided so
someone can pay their death taxes by selling their portion of the land?
Death taxes are the biggest reason large tracts of land get fragmented
into smaller less manageable tracts."

"There are very few people in agriculture today who would consider
themselves wealthy. While we continue to fight the everyday struggle to
hold on and feed the world, the government is forcing us out of business
so that we can become a nation of salesmen and service companies while
the rest of the world buys our agricultural technology and becomes
producers of real products."

"I have worked all my life to acquire my ranch and to pay for it and I
don't feel it is right to tax my son when I pass on. This is double
taxation and it just isn't right."

"Serious thought and discussion on these subjects (death and capital
gains taxes) sometimes makes me wonder if we really do want to save this
ranch and pass this burden to our children."

"In the event that I am forced to sell, a 28 percent capital gains tax
on property that has a low value plus a 55 percent death tax adds up to
a 83 percent confiscation tax."

"(The capital gains tax) discourages investment and penalizes success.
I would much rather have the money in my pocket to spend as I want
rather than the government, which proves daily it can't handle it."

TSCRA is a 120-year-old livestock trade association representing more
than 14,000 cattle producers who own or control approximately 1.8
million head of cattle on millions of acres of ranch and pastureland
primarily in Texas and Oklahoma.

For a complete copy of the TSCRA "Death and Capital Gains Tax Survey,"
contact the association at 817/332-7064 or 1301 West Seventh Street,
Fort Worth, Texas 76102.

Grain drill aids planting on poor land

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Preliminary studies have shown that cotton planted with a grain drill
on marginal land may be an economically feasible production system.

Cotton Incorporated is conducting research projects at four different
locations to determine if ultra-narrow row cotton is viable production

The research will also determine optimum management strategies for
these production practices. Weed control and harvesting are some of the
biggest obstacles when using UNR.

With plant growth regulators and new technologies in weed control
(genetically transformed cotton and over-the-top herbicides), this
problem can be reduced. UNR is an option that must be examined for both
profit and quality because of its potential for reducing production

Careful by nature program targets poisons

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All cotton-producing states will have the opportunity to participate in
The Cotton Foundation's Careful by Nature program in 1997.

The program, supported by a grant to the Foundation from Novartis, is
designed to motivate producers to use pesticides responsibly and
increase their awareness of the impact of their actions on the
environment. It also seeks to reassure the general public about farmers'
responsible use of pesticides.

Modeled after a pilot program in Mississippi, the program was expanded
into four additional states- Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and Texas - in
The program is shaped to fit the needs in each state by a steering
committee appointed by that state. This committee, which as the latitude
to tailor the program to its local conditions, typically includes
representatives of cotton producer groups, the Department of
Agriculture, the Extension Service and other organizations representing
retailers, applicator and advisors.

"Producers and handlers embraced Careful By Nature last year so we were
encouraged to go forward across the Cotton Belt this year, "said Paul
Drugger, manager of special technical projects for the National Cotton
Council, which manages the program. "By and large, cotton producers
already do a good job of handling pesticides, but there is incentive for
protecting that reputation, for becoming even better stewards of the
land and water resources."

Specific Foundation support for participating states includes a
specially prepared brochure about program goals, radio spots featuring
producers and other industry representatives talking about environmental
stewardship issues, articles for state Extension personnel and
associations to use in their newsletters as well as news releases, guest
editorials and other materials for media distribution.

"Each state is encouraged not only to use these resource materials, but
supplement them with materials and activities at the local level,
"Drugger said. "The Council believes that communication of Careful By
Nature activities to the general public is an important program
component because it enchances the dialogue between farmers and
non-farmers and builds trust between them."

He said, for example, a media day conducted on Georgia cotton farm in
1996 enabled a Careful By Nature participant to talk about his
commitment to the safe handling of pesticides and to protecting the
environment. Nine area newspaper and television reporters talked to
cotton farmer Ronnie Everidge and his family about their stewardship
efforts and saw aerial application and pesticide container disposal
demonstrations at their farm.

Seminar focuses on pink bollworm

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Over 130 cotton industry professionals attended Cotton Incorporated's
third Crop Management Seminar held last month in Phoenix, Ariz.

New insect management methods for cotton in the irrigated Southwestern
desert, including experiences with insect growth regulators for whitefly
management to prevent sticky cotton and Bt cotton for pink bollworm
control, were discussed.

"Our industry is moving toward selective chemistry, allowing for better
conservation of beneficials to bolster insect control and decrease
overall production costs," said Dr. Robert L. Nichols, director,
Agricultural Research for Cotton Incorporated.

"Crop Management Seminars provide an avenue for Cotton Incorporated to
communicate valid, objective information whenever new technology becomes
available," he said.

Big Bend entrance fee increase
to bolster park operating budget

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Big Bend National Park has been selected to participate in Phase II of
the Congressionally authorized Recreation Fee Demonstration Program
which allows federal land-management agencies to increase and retain
entrance and user fees, according to Superintendent Jose A. Cisneros.
The purpose of the three-year program is to demonstrate the feasibility
of using increased fees for the operation and maintenance of parks.

Beginning May 1, fees will be $10 per private passenger vehicle and its
occupants for seven days, up from the current $5 fee. Individual
entrants, such as motorcyclists, bicyclists and passengers on
non-commercial buses, will pay $5 per person, up from the current fee of
$3. The Big Bend National Park annual pass will be $20, up from $15.

"Revenues from the increased entrance fees will provide needed funds
for important park projects that we were unable to accomplish in the
past," said Cisneros. "The park will keep 80 percent of the new fees
generated through this project."

In the past, fees were deposited into the U.S. Treasury without any
direct return to the parks. In contrast, the fee demonstration program
allows participating park sites to keep up to 80 percent of the new fee
revenues and makes the remaining 20 percent available to other sites in
the National Park System that are most in need.

At Big Bend National Park, revenues from the new fees will be used to
rehabilitate the sound system, screen, and benches at the dilapidated
Chisos Basin amphitheater, where park rangers give evening programs for
visitors, according to Cisneros. They will also be used to replace aging
bulletin boards and to construct a new entrance station at Persimmon
Gap. Other high priority projects include rehabilitation of campsites
throughout the park and an upgrade of the amphitheater at Cottonwood

"Park visitors will directly benefit from the projects funded throu~gh
the new fees," said Cisneros. "We are pleased that this new program will
allow us to retain money in the park for crucial needs."

The cost of the Golden Eagle Passport, the annual pass that provides
free entrance to all National Parks, was raised nationwide from $25 to
$50 on January 1 as a part of the Fee Demonstration Program. Golden Age
Passports remain at a one-time cost of $10 for United States residents
over the age of 62. Golden Access Passports continue to be offered at no
charge to visitors who are permanently disabled.

Cattle raisers group recovers
millions in stolen property

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Stolen livestock and ranch equipment, worth more than $2.3 million,
were recovered in 1996 by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers
Association, reports the Fort Worth-based producer group founded 120
years ago to fight the theft problem.

In an annual report given March 26 to members attending the TSCRA
convention in Fort Worth, executive vice president Steve Munday said
that the association's 33 field inspectors investigated 1,725 cases in
Texas and Oklahoma, primarily involving estray or stolen livestock.

Working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement officers,
the inspectors recovered or accounted for 4,012 head of cattle, 57
horses, 14 trailers, 30 saddles and miscellaneous ranch property, which
had a total value of $2,312,741. The average value of property recovered
or accounted for each day was $6,336.

Of the 1,725 investigations, 52 were brought to trial, said Munday.
Offenders were given more than 183 years of prison, probated, deferred,
suspended, jail and community service sentences. In addition, the courts
ordered those convicted to pay $53,208 in restitution to the victims.
The offenders were also required to pay $3,843 in fines, court costs and
attorneys' fees.

Munday said the association also employs 80 brand inspectors who
identify five million to six million head of cattle at the time of sale
each year. The inspectors report their findings to the group's Fort
Worth headquarters, where the information is processed for computer

Munday encouraged all cattle producers and owners of farm and ranch
equipment to take steps to protect themselves from theft. He invited
them to contact their local TSCRA field inspector or the Fort Worth
office for theft prevention and brand information.

Use biotechnology to expand business

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ST. LOUIS - Biotechnology is changing agriculture, and agricultural
retailers need to expand their services to prosper in the face of
ensuing developments and competition. Ag retailers from Illinois,
Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Texas heard that caution from a variety
of speakers at the industry's first "Biotechnology: The Path to New
Horizons" seminar presented by Agricultural Retailers Association.

"After years of promise, today biotechnology is on the market and
moving forward," says Paul Kindinger, ARA president and chief executive
officer who also served as moderator for the seminar. "Through `The Path
to New Horizons' seminars and programs, we will provide ag retailers
with information on not only technology, but how it will impact ag
retailers' business and their customers."

In preparation for the rapid advancements being made in biotechnology,
ag retailers were encouraged to expand their scale of operation by
enhancing services provided; reassessing current and potential
competition; developing innovative pricing strategies; and determining
the overall efficiency of their operation.

"Biotechnology will have a huge impact on the agriculture business in
the next two to four years," said Pat Schaddel of Brandt Consolidated,
Inc. "Retailers need to leam how to adapt more readily to the changes in
the biotechnology field.

Ag retailers participating in the seminar on March 6 in St. Louis
leamed of current and forthcoming biotechnology innovations, such as
herbicide-resistant crops, insect-resistant varieties and gene-stacking
technology. Future "Biotechnology: The Path to New Horizons" seminars
may take place in Indiana, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Biotechnology experts explained to seminar participants the value and
economics of biotechnology to the retail business, as well as methods
for keeping updated on new uses and technology; communicating trends and
developments to customers; and answering customers' bottom-line
agronomic questions. Ag retailers were advised that the demands for
information and data will increase dramatically as biotechnology
advancements continue to be marketed.

"Biotechnology does and will affect customers, companies and the
industry as a whole," said Schaddel. "The speakers did an excellent job
of giving us an overview of where we absolutely need to be in the next
few years to have value in the field."

Seminar speakers included Dr. William Miller, professor of agricultural
economics, University of Nebraska - Lincoln; Dr. Nicholas
Kalaitzandonakes, associate professor of agricultural economics,
University of Missouri - Columbia; Dr. Sandra McDonald, environmental
and pesticide education, Colorado State University; and Dr. Martina
McGloughlin, assistant director for biotechnology, University of
California - Davis.

"Ag retailers are often relied upon as advisors and providers of
current information for farmers' crop protection needs," says Kindinger.
"They can anticipate being placed in the spotlight of the new, upcoming
biotechnology era in agriculture."

To continue its commitment to inform and train ag retailers, the ARA
launched the "Biotechnology: The Path to New Horizons" program in
December 1996 with support from Monsanto Co. The training program
includes interactive seminarss consumer materials and a turney
background package for ag retailers. For further information about
future "Biotechnology The Path to New Horizons" seminars and programs,
ag retailers can contact ARA at (800) 844-4900.

The Agricultural Retailers Association works to enhance the knowledge,
image, value and business success of agricultural and green industry
retailers. ARA is a non-profit association that equips its members to be
the preferred technology and information resources for farmers, land
owners and other industry professionals. ARA also provides industry
representation in Washington D.C.

Visits up to Big Bend National Park

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March visitation in Big Bend National Park was up 25.8 percent compared
to the same period last year, according to Superintendent Jose A.
Cisneros. March is always the busiest month in the park.
A total of 50,181 people visited the park this March compared to only
39,900 last year.
"Spring break stretched out over three weeks this year," said Cisneros.
"The park was very busy throughout the entire month but it was not quite
so hectic as in some years."
To date, park visitation for the year is up 36.6 percent over 1996
"Visitation was down over 38 percent at this time last year, so we are
experiencing a return to normal visitation levels," continued Cisneros.

Amoco takes award for achievements

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RICHARDSON - Edward E. Horton and Amoco Corp. will be honored at the
Offshore Technology Conference's Distinguished Achievement Awards
Luncheon on Tuesday, 6 May, during the 29th Annual OTC at Houston's
Astrodome U.S.A. complex.

The OTC Distinguished Achievement Awards are bestowed each year to
honor the significant contributions to the offshore industry of an
individual, as well as those of a single company, organization or

Horton, of Houston, will receive the Distinguished Achievement Award
for individuals; Amoco, with headquarters in Chicago, will be presented
with the award for companies, organizations and institutions.

President and Principal Owner of Deep Oil Technology Inc., Horton is
recognized in the official award citation "for visionary and innovative
concepts over a period of three decades that have significantly
influenced the direction and development of offshore resources from
marginal fields to deepwater operations."

Horton was instrumental in development of the design for the Tension
Leg Platform, which has enhanced the offshore petroleum industry's
ability to develop even marginal fields in ultra-deep water. In addition
to authoring many technical papers, Horton holds some 15 patents,
ranging in subject matter from an "Offshore Well Apparatus and System"
to "Multiple Tendon Compliant Tower Construction."

Having founded DOT in 1984, Horton has since been involved in a number
of deepwater oil and gas development projects. The most recent of these
was the design of a "spar" drilling and production platform for use in
development of deepwater reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere
around the world.

Although Amoco Corp. conducts major offshore and onshore operations
around the world, the OTC Distinguished Achievement Award official
citation recognizes the company "for development of the Liuhua Project,
a major multinational offshore project employing innovative techniques
in design, construction and installation, particularly the subsea
building block system and ESPs in subsea wells.

In addition, Liuhua established the precedent for relationships and
joint ventures in China." The project was a joint effort between Amoco
Orient Petroleum Co., China Offshore Oil Nanhai East Corp., and
Kerr-McGee China Petroleum Ltd.

The Liuhua 11-1 field is the largest reservoir to have been developed
to date in the South China Sea. It is located in an offshore environment
known for its weather characteristics, including numerous typhoons each
year. This, coupled with the heavy crude oil and the presence of adverse
downhole conditions, presented challenges that called for innovative
techniques and equipment to make development of Liuhua 11-1 field
economically feasible.

Led by Amoco engineers, the Liuhua 11-1 development team designed a
number of major components of the field's production system, including a
floating production system (FPS) for drilling/production well support; a
floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) system for
processing and storing the produced crude oil; and a leading-edge subsea
wellhead system that uses electric submersible pumps (ESPs) to service
the 20 horizontal wells drilled into the reservoir. When installation
was complete, the Liuhua 11-1 field project came in ahead of schedule
and below budget. Additionally, the Liuhua Project has opened the door
for developing a good working relationship with China.

The 1997 Offshore Technology Conference and Exhibition is scheduled for
5-8 May. Some 36,000 engineers, scientists, technicians, executives and
managers from 80-plus countries are expected to attend. Also, more than
1,400 companies from around the world will be on hand at OTC to exhibit
their products and services.

Oil and gas statistics

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The commission issued a total of 1,137 original drilling permits in
March compared to 1,159 in March 1996. The March total included 873
permits to drill new oil and gas wells, 44 to re-enter existing well
bores,and 220 for re-completions.

So far in 1997, there have been 3,354 drilling permits issued compared
to 2,956 recorded during the same period in 1996.

Permits issued in March included 484 oil, 255 gas, 359 oil and gas, 31
injection, and 8 other permits.


In March operators reported 340 oil, 379 gas, 24 injection and two other
completions, compared to 373 oil, 335 gas, and 17 injection and other
completions during the same month of last year.

Total well completions for 1997 year-to-date is 2,286, up from 2,154
recorded during the same period in 1996.

Operators reported 575 holes plugged and 149 dry holes in March,
compared to 1,241 holes plugged and 143 dry holes reported the same
period last year.


Texas preliminary January, 1997 crude oil production averaged 1,314,009
barrels daily, down from the 1,352,588 barrels daily average of January,
The preliminary Texas crude oil production figure for January 1997 is
40,734,292 barrels, a decrease from the 41,930,229 barrels reported
during January, 1996.


Texas oil and gas wells produced 469,064,118 Mcf (thousand cubic feet)
of gas based upon preliminary production figures for January 1997, up
from the January, 1996 preliminary gas production total of 464,278,179

Texas gas production in January came from 163,854 oil, and 50,153 gas

Upstream oil, gas activity
offshore conference topic
at 29th annual tech talks

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RICHARDSON - The impact of the ongoing global resurgence in upstream
oil and gas activity, particularly offshore, will be the subject of the
first of two General Sessions to be held at the 29th Annual Offshore
Technology Conference, 5-8 May, in Houston, Texas U.S.A.

A distinguished panel of top petroleum industry executives will address
topical issues affecting offshore operations around the world at the
session, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, 6 May.

Moderator for the session, which will take the form of an interactive
question-and-answer discussion, will be Matt Simmons, President of
Simmons & Co.

Scheduled as panelists are:

* Nox Lukens, Senior Vice President, Baker Hughes, Inc.

* Jim Day, President, Noble Drilling.

* Gustavo Inciarte, Member of the Board of Directors of Petroleos de
Venezuela, S.A.

* Stuart McGill, Executive Vice President;, Exxon Co. Intl.

An equally important second General Session panel discussion, to be
held Wednesday afternoon, 7 May, will address strategic alliances and
partnering among producing companies and manufacturers and

Such collaboration is growing more and more necessary as a means of
lowering research and development costs while continuing to develop the
critical technologies needed for E&P operations around the world.

Moderator for the Wednesday session, which will examine both the
"positive" and "negative" aspects of alliances and partnerships, will be
Stewart Adamson, Managing Director, Fuel Subsea Engineering.

Scheduled to join Adamson as panelists are:

* Larry Farmer, President, Brown & Root Energy Services.

* Mike Curtis, Procurement Director, BP Exploration, Inc.

* Richard (Rich) Pattarozzi, Chairman, President and CEO, Shell
Deepwater Development, Inc. and Chairman and CEO, Shell Deepwater
Production Inc.

* Rene Huck, Vice President and General Manager, Schlumberger
Integrated Project Management.

* John d'Ancona, Consultant and retired official of the U.K. Dept. of
Trade and Industry.

"The General Sessions this year are of particular importance to the
offshore industry," said Roger L. Abel, Chairman of Conoco Exploration
Production Europe Ltd. and current Chairman of the OTC Board of
Directors. "Most experts see the entire industry continuing its current
healthy growth for at least the next 12 months, and the General Session
subjects are vital to maintaining realistic goals and a sensible outlook
for the long term."

Combined, the experience among the panelists for both General Sessions
is far-reaching and exceptional, Abel remarked. "They will serve to
further enhance the broad international appeal that has been central to
the OTC since its inception."

OTC is the world's leading forum on offshore technology. Each year, 14
prominent engineering and scientific organizations, with worldwide
membership of more than 750,000, sponsor and endorse the technical
conference and exhibition in Houston.

OTC keynoters versed in technology

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RICHARDSON - Nine of the 49 technical sessions scheduled for the 1997
Offshore Technology Conference, to be held in Houston on 5-8 May, will
open with featured keynote addresses from prominent specialists in
offshore petroleum industry technology and management.

Three of the Keynote sessions will be held on Monday, 5 May, followed
by three each on Tuesday and Wednesday, 6-7 May. Each of the Keynote
speeches, which will provide an introduction to the session topic, will
be followed by multiple technical presentations.

"The topics to be presented in the keynote addresses all are of vital
importance right now to the international offshore petroleum industry,"
said Roger L. Abel, Chairman of Conoco Exploration Production Europe
Ltd. and current Chairman of the OTC Board of Directors. " Aspects of
those topics are being examined today in company boardrooms and
government offices around the world, and will continue to be
much-discussed in the months and years ahead. "

More than 300 technical papers will be presented at this year's 29th
annual OTC, and more than 36,000 scientists, engineers and managers from
more than 80 countries are expected to be on hand for the technical
sessions to learn about new innovations in offshore oil and gas
technology. Also, they will attend the OTC exhibition to view new and
improved products and services now available to the offshore industry
from more than 1,400 companies.

Monday's Keynote Addresses will start off three of the 9:30 a.m.-noon
technical sessions. Keynote Speaker for the session on Deepwater
Developments - Opportunities and Challenges, which also is this year's
OTC Active Arena, will be Richard (Rich) Pattarozzi, Chairman,
President, and CEO, Shell Deepwater Development Inc., and Chairman and
CEO of Shell Deepwater Production Inc.

Pattarozzi's address will precede the session's five panel

A second Keynote Speaker on Monday, for the session on Visualuation and
High-Performance Computing for Reservoir Characterization (pare 1), will
be Ruee Bridges, President-Elect, Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
The second part of this session will be held Monday afternoon from
2-4:30 p.m.

Also, on Monday morning in the Advances In Composites for Offshore
Construction session (1997 Annual Honors Lecture), Mamdouh M. Salama,
Senior Research Fellow, Conoco Inc., will deliver the keynote address
for the Offshore Technology Research Center (OTRC).

On Tuesday, three separate morning sessions will be kicked off with
Keynote Addresses. For the session Neptune SPAR Project, the keynote
speaker will be Jerry Box, Executive Vice President and CEO, Oryx Energy
Co. For the session on Time-Lapse Seismic Reservoir Monitoring (Part 1),
the keynote address will be made by Ian Jack, Geophysical Advisor and
R&D Project Manager, BP Exploration Operating Co. Ltd. This session will
feature five technical papers, with Part 2 being held in the afternoon.

The third Tuesday morning session, on France's Offshore Experiences
(Invited Organization Part 1), will begin with an address by Olivier
Appert, Deputy CEO, Inst. Francais du Petrole, who will deliver one of
the six technical papers. The two sessions on this topic (the second
will be held in the afternoon) were organized by this year's OTC Invited
Organization, The Assn. Francaise des Techniciens et Professionnels du
Petrole (AFTP).

On Wednesday, two Keynote Addresses will precede morning technical
sessions and one will introduce an afternoon session. For the morning
session on Campos Basin - 20 Years of Production, keynote speaker will
be Antonio Carlos Sobreira de Agostini, Managing Director, E&P Petrobras
S.A. Keynote speaker for the other morning session, addressing Marine 3D
Seismics (Part 1), will be Gijs Vermeer, Geophysicist, Shell Intl E&P
Research B.V., who also will deliver one of the six technical papers.
The second part of the session will be held in the afternoon.

The afternoon session on Offshore Field Studies will be lead off with a
Keynote Address by Steven Woodruff, General Manager, Chevron Project
Resources Co. Woodruff Also will present one of the six technical

OTC is the world's leading forum on offshore technology. Each year, 14
prominent engineering and scientific organizations sponsor and endorse
the technical conference and exhibition at Houston's Astrodome U. S.A.

Natural gas prices reach record levels

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Tulsa, Oklahoma, March 26, 1997-With colder temperatures in the North,
natural gas prices soared and consumption reached close to record levels
in 1996. Natural gas prices were the highest since 1984 at approximately

The high prices of natural gas and oil allowed the coal market to
become more competitive. Compared to 1995, the average cost to electric
utilities in the first eight months of 1996 rose $0.64/MMBTU for natural
gas and $0.37/MMBTU for petroleum, and dropped $0.03/MMBTU for coal.

Since the 1986 low, natural gas consumption has been on the rise and is
expected to continue to increase in 1997. The demand for natural gas in
1996 is estimated at 21.9 tcf. It is also forecast to increase further
in 1997 by 0.7 percent to 22.05 tcf. Commercial demand increased from
2.318 tcf in 1986 to 3.034 tcf in 1995, an increase of 30.9 percent.
Residential demand increased 12.4 percent in the same time period from
4.314 tcf to 4.850 tcf.

To offset the higher demands, production and proven natural gas
reserves increased significantly. U.S. domestic production in 1995, at
19.710 tcf, was at the highest level since 1981. World production in
1995 reached 74.85 tcf up 26.9 percent from 1985. Total world proven
reserves were 4,945 tcf at year end 1996, up from 3,632 tcf at year end
1986, an increase of 36.2 percent.

This information is from "An Analysis of Current Natural Gas
Statistics" by Robert Beck, Economics Editor, Oil & Gas Journal. The
analysis is published in the newly released Natural Gas Statistics
Sourcebook, Fourth Edition. The publication provides convenient access
to the essential key statistics needed for analysis of the natural gas

The natural gas series include reserves, exploration and drilling,
supply and disposition, imports and exports, production, LPG production,
prices, storage, movements and transportation, processing, demand and
consumption, revenues and expenditures, and major events affecting the
industry since 1859. Also included are conversion factors, heat content
of fuels, and at least fifteen years of historical data complete with
illustrations of key data series.

The Natural Gas Statistics Sourcebook, Fourth Edition, is available as
a book and electronically in CDROM and diskette. Contact Sandra Meyer,
Oil & Gas journal Energy Database, 1421 S. Sheridan, Tulsa, OK 74112 or
call 918-832-9346 or 800-345-4618. Fax: 918-831 -9497. E-mail
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