SOURCE: Mariner Energy, Inc.

Mariner Energy, Inc.

March 19, 2010 10:15 ET

Mariner Energy Posts Apparent High Bids on 45 Blocks in Central OCS Lease Sale 213 and Provides Deepwater Prospect Inventory Update

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwire - March 19, 2010) - Mariner Energy, Inc. (NYSE: ME) today announced that the company is the apparent high bidder on 45 blocks on which it bid at the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 213 held on March 17, 2010 in New Orleans. The company's working interests on the blocks ranges from 16.67-100%, with a net exposure of approximately $62.8 million. Mariner expects the leases to be awarded over the next several months subject to MMS review and approval.

Mariner's apparent high bids include nine shelf blocks and 36 deepwater blocks covering 27 prospects. These include three conventional shelf, four deep shelf, one deepwater Wilcox, one deepwater conventional amplitude, and 18 deepwater subsalt Miocene prospects. In the Keathley Canyon and Walker Ridge Lease Protraction Areas, Mariner submitted joint bids with Anadarko Petroleum Company and Plains Exploration & Production Company, its co-venturers at the Lucius discovery on Keathley Canyon Block 875. Mariner partnered with both companies on 23 blocks and with Anadarko on six additional deepwater blocks. The apparent high bids include several drill-ready prospects and mature leads.

Mariner also announced that the reservoir engineering firm DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D&M) recently evaluated 26 deepwater Gulf of Mexico prospects identified by Mariner as top high potential prospects in its current deepwater exploration portfolio (excluding any Lease Sale 213 prospects). D&M estimates that the 26 prospects hold prospective resource potential of approximately 1.28 billion barrels of oil equivalent, net, unrisked to Mariner, providing independent, third-party verification of the potential of a portion of Mariner's deepwater exploration portfolio.

"We are very pleased with the results of the lease sale as we strengthened our positions in existing holdings -- including two blocks offsetting our Lucius discovery -- expanded our positions in the prolific subsalt play in prospects similar to those evaluated in D&M's encouraging report, as well as broadened our portfolio in other exploration play fairways. We look forward to working with our partners on these projects," said Mike van den Bold, Senior Vice President and Chief Exploration Officer.

About Mariner Energy, Inc.
Mariner Energy is an independent oil and gas exploration, development, and production company headquartered in Houston, Texas, with principal operations in the Permian Basin, Gulf Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. For more information about Mariner, visit the company's website at www.mariner-energy.com.

Important Information Concerning Forward-looking Statements

This press release includes 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, that address activities that Mariner assumes, plans, expects, believes, projects, estimates or anticipates (and other similar expressions) will, should or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. Our forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as "may", "will", "estimate", "project", "predict", "believe", "expect", "anticipate", "potential", "plan", "goal", or other words that convey the uncertainty of future events or outcomes. Forward-looking statements provided in this press release are based on Mariner's current belief based on currently available information as to the outcome and timing of future events and assumptions that Mariner believes are reasonable. Mariner does not undertake to update its guidance, estimates or other forward-looking statements as conditions change or as additional information becomes available. Estimated reserves are related to hydrocarbon prices. Hydrocarbon prices used in estimating reserves may vary significantly from actual future prices. Therefore, volumes of reserves actually recovered may differ significantly from such estimates. Mariner cautions that its forward-looking statements are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties normally incident to the exploration for and development, production and sale of oil and natural gas. These risks include, but are not limited to, price volatility or inflation, environmental risks, drilling and other operating risks, regulatory changes, the uncertainty inherent in estimating future oil and gas production or reserves, and other risks described in Mariner's latest Annual Report on Form 10-K and other documents filed by Mariner with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Any of these factors could cause Mariner's actual results and plans of Mariner to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Investors are urged to read Mariner's latest Annual Report on Form 10-K and other documents filed by Mariner with the SEC. 

"Proved" oil and gas reserves are those that can be estimated with reasonable certainty to be economically and legally producible under existing economic conditions, operating methods and government regulations. "Probable," "possible" and "non-proved" reserves, reserve "potential" or "upside" or other descriptions of volumes of reserves potentially recoverable involve estimates that by their nature are more speculative than estimates of proved reserves and accordingly are subject to substantially greater risk of actually being realized by Mariner. The SEC generally does not permit a company's filings with the SEC to include estimates or estimated values of oil or gas resources other than reserves due to concern that resources other than reserves are too speculative and may be misleading.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities of Mariner.